The crazy journey of our family living this beautiful life for our awesome God!
"...Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of GOD." 1 Cor. 10:31

Good Reads

I love reading and I like getting new ideas from what others are reading...so I thought I'd add a booklist on here so that you can check it out.  These are several books I've read and have appreciated.  I've got more books to add, but I'll update the list as time goes.  Oh, and sorry there aren't any novels...I don't have room or time to list all the novels I've loved!

Parenting
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches-Rachel Jankovic....great read for those with little tykes! Plus, it's short and fast, even better.
The Mission of Motherhood-Sally Clarkson....talks about having the right perspective on your job as a mom
A Mother's Heart-Jean Fleming...again, having a proper perspective of a mother's calling
Give Them Grace-Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson....Very thought provoking on parenting your children with the view of God's grace and Christ's work in mind at all times..you gotta have someone else to read through this with so you can "chew" it over with someone.  I'm actually still in progress because I need the hubs to get on board with  me so I have someone who will listen to my "chewing"
The Christian Mom's Idea Book-Ellen Banks Elwell...full of lots of good ideas for you and your kiddos
The Faithful Parent-Martha Peace and Stuart Scott...great book on parenting during the different stages children
Shepherding a Child's Heart-Tedd Tripp...how could I not have this one on here...excellent book on parenting
The Mom Walk-Sally Clarkson...very encouraging book about the daily job of being a mom
Don't Make Me Count to Three-Ginger Plowman...Excellent read on discipline...very practical, helpful tips!

General Christian Living
Respectable Sins-Jerry Bridges....if you are in the mood for feeling VERY convicted, read this
When Life and Beliefs Collide-Carolyn Custis James....challenges women to be "theologians" and to really KNOW God.
Calm My Anxious Heart-Linda Dillow....excellent book on finding contentment, even in the midst of trials
Twelve Extraordinary Women-John Macarthur...Story of 12 women from the Bible and how we can learn from what God did in their lives.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp---I read this a few months ago but it is such an awesome book.  The author has a very interesting way with her words and this book will make you think, a lot.  It calls us to stop focusing on the things that don't matter and see all the grace that's been given to us because everything is grace and we should be thanking God for all of that grace.  Basically, it's a call to surrendered, fully abandoned gratitude and a life that lives in the moment that God has given us here and now.  A good read for a good perspective
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis----Ahhh...I can't say enough about this book and how much it stirred my heart and influenced my thinking.  I just absolutely love this book and the author's personal story of her journey into Africa and into the heart of God.  It's about a young girl who abandons everything we know as normal life here in America and follows God to the depths of poverty in Uganda.  But in that journey she finds so much joy in fulfilling God's command to love others as ourselves and to give our lives showing others His love.  I was crying on just about every other page.  Her words felt like they were echoing the beat of my heart.  This is a must read, so good.  
Radical by David Platt---I actually read this last fall but I haven't included it on a reading list yet so I wanted to make sure I got it here.  If you know me well then you will have already heard me talk about this book and it's author.  I love this book and what the author proposes, challenges and teaches in it.  The author uses Scripture in abundance, throughout the book, so it makes it very hard to argue with what he is saying...he's not pushing his own agenda, he's calling us to really, honestly take a look at the type of Christianity Christ called us to in comparison with the type of Christianity we tend to live here in America.  He challenges us to consider how we have perhaps manipulated the gospel to fit our own lives.  VERY thought-provoking!!  Oh, and PS...if you're looking for some more challenging, heart changing words, try listening to some of his sermons.  I've been listening to several of his sermons lately on my ipod and Luke gives me funny looks as I walk around the house, doing my chores, saying "AMEN!"  I've listened to some excellent sermons lately.  They are all free through Itunes and I found them by googling David Platt Sermons (they are available through the media ministry at his church).  
Seven by Jen Hatmaker---Another book on my list of LOVES. :)  This was my first read by this author so I had no idea what to expect, I just thought I'd give it a try and see what it had to offer and what I could glean and learn.  There are some things that I wouldn't agree with Jen completely on but I do appreciate her heart and the message she is passionate about.  She's got a lot of great stuff to offer and on top of that she is so funny to read.  I found myself laughing out loud multiple times!  She is very blunt, sarcastic and dry in her humor and it helps make her books a breeze to read through.  This book is subtitled "An experimental mutiny  against excess" and it's foundation is to challenge the way we do life here in America with stuff and more stuff and always seeking more.  She spent 7 months going through 7 categories and reducing them down in drastic ways.  It's written as a sort of journal as she goes through this process and shares what she is learning.  I'm chomping at the bit to start my own 7 experiment but I'm trying to get my hubby to read it so he'll do it with me.  If anyone else reads it and wants to join, let me know!  
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker---After I read Seven, I wanted to learn more about the author and her story and where she comes from.  This book is about the journey God brought her and her husband through as they re-thought the way they were doing life, church, ministry and Christianity.  This was a very thought-provoking read about her desire for God to "raise up in her a passion" and change her life to be the way He wanted it to be.  It's about having a life consumed with God and passionate about serving the last, the least, the forgotten and the forsaken.  I'm still "chewing" through some of what she proposed but there were definitely some good things that I agreed with, as well as some things that I'm not sure I completely agreed with. But it was a good, challenging read.  





"Wife Books"
Creative Counterpart-Linda Dillow...becoming the woman, wife and mother God created you to be
Disciplines of a Godly Woman-Barbara Hughes...excellent, convicting book on what it looks like to be a woman after God's heart

Adoption/Orphan Care and Ministry
Successful Adoption-Natalie Nichols Gillepsie....everything you could possibly need to know about adoption...SO helpful!
Adoption as a Ministry, Adoption as a Blessing...such a neat story of one family's journey through adoption

From Ashes to Africa by Josh and Amy Bottomly----This is the touching story of one family's journey through infertility and into the beauty that God had for them in adoption.  They are candid with their struggles and the whole path that God led them down and it's a very touching, honest, inspiring story of one family's journey as God makes beauty out of ashes.  Even if you aren't in the same situation as us and this family...experiencing infertility and adoption...it's still a great read.
Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore---Awesome book on adoption and what the Bible has to say about it.  The author does an excellent job of surveying adoption through the lens of the Bible and shows how adoption should  be a priority for Christian families and churches.  There are a few things that I disagreed with in the book, but overall it was an excellent read.
A Passion for the Fatherless by Daniel J Bennett---An EXCELLENT resource for the biblical foundation of caring for the fatherless.  The author gives an excellent argument for why we as Christians should be concerned about caring for the fatherless, all based on biblical truth.  Then he goes on to show ways that we can develop a ministry to do so.  This book was instrumental as Luke and I developed Mercy's Reach but it's an excellent read for anyone willing and interested in gaining a better picture of what God's word says about caring for the least of these.  
Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis---(Are you sensing a theme here?  Yes, I'm passionate about orphans and what God's word has to say about our responsibility to care for them. :) )  This book doesn't go as deep as Passion for the Fatherless, but it is still a good read about God's heart for the poor, widows and fatherless.  The author encourages readers to become the real, tangible hands and feet of Christ to those in need. 
Adopt without Debt by Julie Gumm---Obviously, the title says what this book is about.  It's premise is to offer creative ways to cover the cost of adoption.  Let's face it, adoption is stinkin' expensive. But that doesn't mean it should be ruled out just because it seems like we can't afford it.  The author offers so many helpful tips, advice and practical ways to raise money to help fund an adoption and make it affordable...no matter what your financial situation.  If you are considering adoption but have always used the excuse, "it's just too expensive, there's no way we could ever afford it" (well, first you need to reconsider whether or not you are really willing to step out in obedience, no matter what the cost because the point of adoption is not about what it's going to cost us financially) but, off my soapbox ;), this book will help you realize that adoption can be a financial reality for your family, with just a little creativity and hard work.  


Christianity and "The Least of These"
It's Not Okay With Me by Janine Maxwell---If you want a book that's going to make you feel good and warm and fuzzy inside, this is not the one.  I found myself sobbing as I read some of the stories the author shared in the heart-wrenching account of her journey into the heart of Africa.  She shares about the realities of the struggles people are experiencing there and it broke my heart to think about precious children, lives that God loves, suffering unimaginable cruelty and pain.  I definitely don't agree with the author on everything theologically, but I'm a big believer in being able to glean what I can, no matter whether or not I completely agree with someone.  There is always something to learn.  This is a very honest re-telling of her journey to act on the suffering she saw and bring hope to a seemingly hopeless area.  
The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns---This was an excellent read about what we in the American church just might be missing.  The author challenges the easy, "check the boxes" type of Christianity we tend to live and asks readers to honestly ask themselves, "What does God expect of us, of me?  Have I embraced everything Christ presents in the gospel."  The book goes on to show how it is a biblical command and an essential part of the gospel to help those in need and those less fortunate.  It is an excellent resource for facts about the reality of the situation in our world...the reality of poverty, disease, starvation and more.  The statistics are staggering and can be discouraging but he goes on to offer hope in how we can become involved and show Christ to a world that's hurting.  





Infertility
The Infertility Companion-Sandra Glahn & William Cutrer...EXCELLENT resource for couples who are going through the struggles of infertility.  Not only helpful resources but also great encouragement.
When the Cradle is Empty-John & Sylvia Van Regenmorter....answers to the tough questions about infertility and how to find hope and healing in the midst of it.


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