Books on Tap

The end of February is analogous to reaching Mile 22 of a marathon. You’ve made it past The Wall, as runners call the point where you think you might die, but there’s still a ways to go and you’re doubting your abilities to get through this thing.

Then your thinking shifts beyond the current pain to the finish line. At the end of the race there’ll be bananas, bagels, and probably chocolate milk. You get to eat whatever you want for dinner (Starbucks and Combos, anyone?) because, heck, you just burned like a million calories. “Ooh, it’s going to be good once I get there,”…so mentally, you give yourself a kick in the pants to press on to the end.

One foot in front of the other, that’s the only way I can muddle through late winter. I’m out of the energy fighting the doldrums of cold, illness, cooped up kids and my own mental state which tends to wane right about now. I need to shift to focusing on the coming spring—the promise of new life, warmer temps, kids frolicking in the sunshine and something other than apples in the fruit section of the supermarket.

Beside the encouragement of impending change, I’ve taken late winter solace in books. I have two meaningful piles on my shelf—the ones recently completed that have brought beautiful ideas into the darkness of Winter and the ones I’m currently salivating over

I can’t read just one book at a time; when I get one in my hands, I just have to let a few paragraphs or chapters start changing the tide of my brain waves—so I usually find myself with about 6 going all at once.

As you read through this list, you’ll realize I currently have a serious deficiency of fiction books, so any suggestions are welcome. Apparently, I’m longing to anchor myself more to ideas and less to stories, but that ebbs with the seasons of my life.

What I’m currently reading:

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Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy

I briefly attended church with Christie a few years ago and have followed her blog since we moved. Her writing is lyrical and accessible, she beautifully shares how she finds love in the everyday. Her first novel chronicles her family’s inaugural year in their Pennsylvania farmhouse, Maplehurst, and I’m confident her observations will unveil spiritual truths and encouraging wisdom for all—especially those who have experienced changes, moves and/or have a bent towards the natural and everyday miracles of life.

Mentor for Life by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

You might think you know what mentoring is, but Robinson adds depth and urgency to the concept. I started this book not knowing that I crave mentoring, and now get how it’s foundational in the church and individual’s lives. From the publisher: In Mentor for Life, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson lays a solid foundation for mentoring that is based on God’s kingdom vision, challenges women to consider the cost of discipleship, and the high calling they have received in Christ. It shows how to develop mentoring relationships that function communally in existing small groups that are diverse and inclusive. It also presents a mentoring framework of knowing and loving God, understanding our identity in Christ, and loving our neighbor, which encourages theological reflection and cultivates a basic Christian worldview.

Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey

Through her writing, Sarah has been like a spiritual mother, gently validating the question asking and doubts in our faith journeys and painting a beautiful picture of Jesus. She brings wisdom and bravery to the male-female role debate, theology, and accepting one’s faith in a new light.

Overcomer by Audrey Sampson

In her book, Overcomer, Audrey Sampson wants to give us the courage to rebuild and reclaim our souls from shame. There’s likely not one of us alive that doesn’t experience shame at times. Sampson seeks to expose the lies and give us a spiritual foundation for lessening shame’s grip so we can live in healing and with hope.

Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax

Psychologist and physician Leonard Sax gives refreshing parenting advice, bucking the trends that have produced entitled, unsure youth. His points are steeped in research and personal experience from his medical practice. I found a lot of insightful information in his book Boys Adrift and now am diving into this one on behalf of my girls.

Finding Livelihood by Nancy Nordenson

What do you want to be when you grow up? Our answers changed dozens of times from childhood to adulthood. Even now, with an established career in healthcare, I find myself wondering about how my skills and passions might take a different trajectory in the future. Described as a lyrical journey to the place where labor and love meet, Nordenson’s book is about work for grown-ups.

An Alter in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

Published in 2009, this book isn’t new; but when I saw it on a list of suggestions based on previous purchases, I couldn’t pass it up. Finding the sacred in everyday life is one of my favorite things to do, so I’m guessing this one will be very inspiring.

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

Sometimes you just need permission from someone to do something you want to do. I have long needed this author’s permission to write. Within the first few pages, Cameron contends that the urge to write is a human thing, and not something to be claimed by a select few. She dolls out generous permission early in her book and even though I’m only a few chapters in, I’m compelled to hang on to her bold assertions that I, too, can do this writing thing even though there are so many brilliant writers sharing their work in my social circles. YOU are a writer, too. Even if you don’t know how to start, she gives exercises to get you started.

The Compelling Community by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop

I haven’t actually started this one yet, but I’m looking forward to it because community is so core to human longing and growth and often done so averagely in the church.  From the publisher: In the Compelling Community, pastors Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop cast a captivating vision for authentic fellowship in the local church that goes beyond small groups. Full of biblical principles and practical advice, this book will help pastors lead their congregations toward the kind of community that glorifies God, edifies his people, and attracts the lost.

What I Just Finished:

If the above recommendations aren’t enough. five more can’t-miss books….

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Happy reading everyone! Would love your suggestions in the comments and hoping you make it to the Winter’s finish line with gusto.

Heidi