Adorning the Dark*… I loved this wonderful book on “making” from a Christian perspective. I first heard about The Rabbit Room on my favorite Christian writing podcast, Home Row, and have been interested ever since. Andrew Peterson is the founder but I was further excied by this book because our little fixer-upper-home-on-acreage stories are similar, and of course also because he’s a writer. I was deeply touched by several passages and was actually so inspired at some point that I wrote a song! I’ve been recommending this one left and write. Whether you’re a novelist, memoirist, blogger or songwriter, every Christian writer should read this book!
A Cross to Kill*... This was a very action-packed novel full of interesting twists and turns. It felt a lot like an action movie, maybe something like the Bourne Identity series. There was lots of chasing, lots of hand-to-hand combat, and even a love interest. I'd recommend this fast-paced Christian fiction to anyone who likes action movies and has ever attempted to find that in book-form.
The Enneagram in Love and Work… I started with all of the six and nine chapters (and couldn’t believe I’d ever thought I was a 6 instead of a 9), all of the eight chapter since that’s what my husband is, and quite a lot of the relationship directory in the back… 8s + 9s, but also 9s with other numbers so I could look at my relationship with different friends and family members whose numbers I know. Then I felt so invested I went ahead and read the rest of it, too. Definitely recommend this one.
Girls’ Club… I love everything Sally and Sarah Clarkson write and this was no exception. This was my first time reading Joy’s writing and I adored her voice, too. These three have a beautiful relationship I deeply strive for with my own children so getting another chance to read about their bond and how they’ve cultivated something so loving was a really precious experience. Favorite quote, by Sally, because it really hit home for me: “I kept wanting to have more children so I could ‘do it right’ with at least one child. But I have seen that God has taken my small basket of ‘fishes and loaves’ and made it enough to build the foundation for healthy community in spite of my failures. Be encourage—He can restore health and beauty where we have brought darkness and scars. He loves to redeem relationships.” I have wonderful intentions. I’ll spend a few weeks at a time feeling pretty confident in my parenting decisions and really happy with my relationships with each of my children, but then I’ll also spend a few weeks feeling a little anxious about the future and worrying that each of my very human mistakes mean they’ll grow up and refuse to speak to me. I know in my heart that this isn’t really true, but that fear still strikes my heart sometimes anyway. This was such a precious reminder that our relationship is (thank goodness) in God’s hands instead of mine… and therefore it’ll all be just fine.
The Heart of Recovery*… We often think of addicts as scary, evil people who hang out in dark alleys and will do anything to get their next fix. I’ve known many wonderful people with prescription addictions. I think it’s pretty easy to fall into such an addiction. It starts with a surgery, or a really painful life situation that fills you with anxiety, or a loss so profound it seems only anti-depressants will get you through. I’ve known loving wives and mothers, devoted husbands and fathers, wonderful human beings who were desperately addicted to painkillers. I’ve been given painkillers many times for ailments so mild I never even filled the prescription, or filled the prescription but never actually took any of the meds. When I mentioned offhand that I’d dealt with anxiety during my first pregnancy, my new doctor immediately wrote out prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds. “Oh, I don’t need these,” I explained. “I don’t have anxiety right now, I just meant that I was pretty anxious during my first pregnancy.” “You might as well just start taking these now, just in case,” she recommended. “Preventative measure.” I stared at her dumbfounded and declined an intentional anti-anxiety med addiction for myself and my unborn baby (and whatever side-effects may or may not have accompanied it) as politely as I could. In a world where pills are being thrown at problems left and right, it makes sense to say that we need to be more focused on this specific addiction as a ministry. David Beddoe battled a prescription drug addiction of his own and he and his wife, Deborah, have put together a really great resource that shares their own story and explains how the rest of us can create a more supportive community for those battling addiction. This is a really helpful resource and I’d love to see more churches creating programs based on the information in this book.
The Next Right Thing… I’ve heard Anne Bogel mention Emily P. Freeman many times so when I saw this one available in my Libby app TBR I downloaded it right away. This is a super short read, read by the author in her super soothing voice, and one I’d recommend to any Enneagram 6 or 9, or to anyone facing a big decision.
The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers… I really loved this very short (four hours on audio) book. I do remember liking Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood when I was a kid but have never shown it to my own children. We have a few Daniel Tiger DVDs, which I love, but after listening to all the wonderful wisdom this man (who, by the way, was NOT a heavily tattooed ex-Marine sniper as they Internet probably led you, too, to believe) had to share with the world, I promptly requested a few Mr. Rogers DVDs from the library. I love the values he teaches and my six-year-old is on a “big kid show” kick so I convinced him that this is the more older-kid version, with real people and puppets instead of cartoon characters like Daniel Tiger. Everyone’s very excited to watch.
The Wisdom of the Enneagram… My favorite Enneagram book yet! I found my chapter to be extremely helpful from a personal growth standpoint and Ryan and I would both really love to own this one. There was even a chart on the most common eating disorders and addictions of each Enneagram type which was really weirdly accurate for not just me but for many, many people I know who have shared their Enneagram number with me. I really loved this one and can’t recommend it enough.
*I received a free copy of Adoring the Dark, The Heart of Recovery and A Cross to Kill from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.