15 Books I’m Excited About This Winter (The 2017-2018 Edition) + What God Is Teaching Me About Rest & A Family Update

Coming in December 2017 + Ready for Preorder (Or Just Released!)

December 5Little Leaders: Bold Women in History by Vashti Harrsion
This is technically a children’s book, but it’s so valuable for adults to read as well. It’s pages are filled with 40 true stories of amazing, courageous black women throughout history. There’s some that you’ll recognize their names and accomplishments easily like Sojourner Truth. The book also highlights some lesser-known women as well as their accomplishments.

December 5Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine by Kat Lee
A couple of months ago, I listened to a podcast with Kat Lee, and I’ve been a bit intrigued by her ever since. I love her idea of being prepared to wake up for your life instead of just waking up to your life. In her book, Kat Lee discusses the ways that you can build a morning routine and habit that will help you read your Bible, plan adequately and work out. This is a book that I need to read!

December 8Hand Lettering 201: Intermediate Lettering and Design Basics by Chalkfulloflove
This is a follow up to Hand Lettering 101. I’ve looked at gorgeous lettering for years wishing that my penmanship could even come close – now it can! I can’t wait to get my hands on these books and practice until I can swirl the letters as gorgeous as a true hand letterer.

December 12Tasty Latest and Greatest: Everything You Want to Cook Right Now (An Official Tasty Cookbook) by Tasty
Do you know a college gal!? Here’s a great book to send them back to college with or for a high school senior in preparation for that new life stage. My Facebook feed is filled with Tasty’s little videos with instructions that make not only any recipe easy, but accessible to the cooking-inadequate among us. This is a great tool to grab off your shelf without having to look through hundreds of videos to find what’s for dinner.

December 26Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship With Food by Rachel Herz PhD
This is not a normal read for me but something about it launched out at me, and I’ve added it to my list. Rachel studies our relationships to food and other variables like our incessant need to binge watch Netflix shows with pizza in hand, how grocery stores sneak attack things into our carts and why atmosphere matters for our meals.

Coming in January 2018 + Ready for Preorder

January 9Stronger than the Struggle: Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle by Havilah Cunnington
“Discern whether we’re dealing with battles within ourselves, resistance from God, or genuine fights with the Devil.” These are the words that leapt out at me on the back of the book. After reading Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker earlier this Fall, I’ve had a hunger to study and read more on spiritual warfare. This Biblical study on discerning battles is something I am completely on board with reading about.

January 9Finding Selah: The Simple Practice of Peace When You Need It Most by Kristen Kill
Since I’m taking the next few weeks off for rest, it only seems fitting that I’d include on here a book on learning to pause. I love that Kristen walks us through the Psalms and especially those pauses as she invites us to pause and look around us at the moments in our own lives that mirror the Psalms.

January 16 Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World by Sarah Quezada
I found Sarah Quezada’s blog awhile back and fell in love. She dances across cultures and between the English and Spanish languages which is totally and completely my heart. In her book, she walks us through the immigration system and discusses what that system needs to look like for Christians and “strangers”. This is one that I can’t wait to read. I’d strongly encourage that while you wait for this one to come out, that you go read Sarah’s blog.

January 23The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For by Jo Saxton
Jo is a no-nonsene kind of gal and extremely funny which makes me so excited for her newest release. In her newest book, she delves deeply into a Biblical-view of living for your dreams in spite of what the naysayers say. She shows the Biblical identity of who God has called us to be in relation to our dreams and what that can mean for our future.

January 30If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free by Jamie Ivey
Oh my goodness. I am honored to be a part of the Launch Team for this book! Jamie Ivey is one of my favorites, so I’ve been so excited she is releasing a book for pretty much ever now. I’m a little over half-way through, and I can say that you need to throw this in your Amazon cart today. It’s raw, funny, engaging and so quintessentially Jamie that it feels like you’re sitting with her on The Happy Hour as she tells you all about her life – struggles, joys and the in between.

Jamie is currently (12.12.17) having a giveaway for any orders placed on her book today. Preorder for Giveaway date is 12.12.17 and runs from 10am-10pm CST. After that the giveaway is closed. 

Coming in February 2018 + Ready for Preorder

February 6Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing The Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be by Rachel Hollis
Anyone up for a BFF slumber party!? That is exactly how I feel about this book as Rachel dishes on her own insecurities, how she’s struggled through them and her obsession about Matt Damon. With each chapter highlighting a different insecurity, it’s easy to crawl into a chapter and see yourself come to light in Rachel’s story.

February 6The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
This story of a successful artist and his new personal assistant weaves together mystery and romance in a way that only a wordsmith like Francine Rivers knows how. I can’t wait for this to be in my hands so that I can dive in and discover for myself what mysterious pasts these two have and how they intertwine in the fate of their relationship.

February 13Barefoot Revolution: Biblical Spirituality for Finding God by Paul Marshall
This practical guide to creating doable and realistic rhythms in your spiritual life is exactly what I need right now. Maybe you do too? Looking at church history, the Bible and the present, Paul helps to provide not only the background necessity of having spiritual rhythms and where to find God in the midst of everyday but how to enact those kind of rhythms in your own life.

February 20Courageous Women of the Bible: Leaving Behind Fear and Insecurity for a Life of Confidence and Freedom by LaTan Roland Murphy
I typically shy away from books that highlight different women in the Bible and how God used them for His kingdom. There’s something about this one that I haven’t been able to shake from my mind. LaTan delves into each woman’s story as she discovers who they were living in their insecurities and fears and who God called them to be as they stepped out in bravery.

February 20Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World by A.J. Swoboda
God’s been teaching me about Sabbath rest lately. I’m still in the beginning stages of what that looks like so Subversive Sabbath caught my eye. While a lot of the books on sabbath tend to focus on individual sabbath rest, the thing that intrigues me in this one is that it focuses on both individual sabbath as well as social justice. What does it look like for the world when you rest?

What God Is Teaching Me About Rest + A Family Update

Right before Thanksgiving, I went to a conference where God kept laying rest both on my heart and directly in front of me. At the urging of a friend, I decided to try resting during the conference itself. Although, everything about stepping away and looking for rest in the middle of a conference goes against my very nature, I decided to extend myself grace and try it. I slept through an early morning session. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was way harder than I’d care to admit. The next session I went to was with Mark Yaconelli where he talked about…. rest. No joke. During his message he said this, “Remember that taking a sabbath is important. It’s a commandment just like don’t kill someone. Those commands are both equal and need to be followed!” Whoa. How often do we think about that? Like, never!?

I texted my own accountability group that same quote. I received a text back from one of the girls who was reading a book on Sabbath. In it, this question is posed, “We embrace intentions for work, academics, relationships, finances, recreation, and faith, but what about intentions for rest?” This continual assurance that rest and Sabbath is so important, gave me the permission I needed to intentionally rest. I later stepped away for lunch with a friend and a heart-to-heart with another friend. (Don’t worry – I did attend like 90% of the sessions and have the copious notes to prove it!) Those small moments of rest greatly added up for me to be able to truly gain wisdom from the speakers and seminars I sat in. More than that, it allowed me to have arms wide open to truly connect with God.

The Christmas season is a season of preparation for our Savior to be born – a season to focus on Him. Although it’s filled with holiday mayhem and all the hustle and bustle one could possibly pack in, it is a great opportunity to step back and focus on the things that really matter. For us, it’s our faith, our family and our friends. Right now, our family is hurting after an incredibly hard weekend with one of our dogs. What started with one seizure on Friday night ended up in a weekend filled with vet visits and an overnight stay at the local animal hospital. All is better now. Our dog, Oakley, has been put on some seizure medication and is doing fantastically, although there’s a lot of adjustments ahead as she gets used to the medication and how it affects her body. Rick and I are doing okay. Scout is nervous for her sister but over the moon thrilled that Oakley’s back at home with us. Before this happened, I was already thinking about stepping back and practicing rest as best as I can over the next few weeks. After this past weekend, that desire has solidified, and I’ll be taking a break until after the new year. 

I pray as things naturally ebb and flow with the Christmas break, you would allow your hours to be used to connect with Christ and the rest of your loved ones. I pray that you would intentionally rest and invest in yourself what you know your body, mind, spirit and soul needs – not just reading God’s word and praying, but diving into great conversations around the dinner table, reading and taking bubble baths, opting for a nap, or zoning out while watching a football game. Extend the same grace that I’ve extended to myself in this season to yourself.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I wanted to get the December books in your hand before January! I wanted to let you know about me taking time to intentionally pour into my family, my people and this Christmas season. My prayer and longing for you is that you will  extend the grace and need to rest to yourself, your family and your people during this season.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas + Happy New Year! I’ll see you in January, friends!

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