I’m tired of taking the kids to the pool and we have one more week till school begins (whaaaat?!), so in the middle of errands this morning we stopped by the library to get out of the heat. We live in the weirdest sliver of a county that changes school districts constantly as they build out the suburbs and add another exit near us to accommodate Atlanta’s infamous traffic. Consequently, our actual library is nearly 25 minutes from us near nothing we ever go to, when libraries in closer proximity are off limits because they’re in a different county. I guess we could just pay for library cards, but who does that?! So, every couple of months we would trek out to that library and I would swear I’d never do it again when one lone book failed to make it into the car and we had to drive all the way out there just to return it later.
Thankfully, last year Emma began attending a school in another county than the one we live in and we were able to snag a library card in her name. We now have 2 libraries we LOVE within 15 minutes of us and we are in heaven – do I sound a little bit like a nerd?! Steven says I am too much sometimes with my book situation, so you’d be in good company. 😉
Because I’m always posting about books and quotes on Instagram and so many of you text me and comment asking for favorites, I thought I would share 5 of my most-loved books for this summer. I wanted to add many more, so consider this list ongoing!
The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, By Lysa TerKeurst
Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love. Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no. Overcomethe agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process. Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes today.
It is not overly dramatic to say that this book changed my life. Lysa points to so much scripture on wisdom and the painful effects of over-commitment that I left the book knowing I needed to come up with a better plan for our family’s time. I began structuring our week differently, paying attention to emotional cues that we were simply doing too much, and then politely declined many things I was doing out of guilt. The amazing thing is not that it’s all about “no”. In fact, when you begin removing your harried schedule, you begin to actually hear the Lord speak when he says, “Hey, buy the person’s drink behind you in the drive-thru.” Or, “Hey, pray for this person.” Or, “I think she could use some encouragement. Drop something off on her front doorstep.”
7: An Experimental Mutiny On Excess, by Jen Hatmaker
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
I went into this book knowing I would be convicted, but like Jen, thinking, “We are not rich! We still shop at thrift stores, we don’t own a lot of toys, we don’t have Spotify Premium. We sit through the ads every single time to save $9.99 every month.” Halfway through I began praying not only for my heart to be wrecked from its many blind spots, but also for the american church. Change for the marginalized has never been needed so badly.
Read this book if you dare. There were some reviews that Jen’s tone of voice bothered them in the writing, but I found it honestly refreshing. I’d also like to mention this was written several years ago and you can look now at where Jen is and see that God did not stop with 7 for Jen, but continued a great work. Her ministry in Ethiopia is amazing.
Hope Heals, by Jay and Katherine Wolf
“Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams, they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just 6 months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family. On April 21, 2008, as James slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.”
I read this book in a matter of days. I cried, laughed, and felt inspired to allow God to redeem my own broken story. You will truly feel left with hope after you read this book!
Surprised By Oxford, by Carolyn Weber
Surprised by Oxfordis the memoir of a skeptical agnostic who comes to a dynamic personal faith in God during graduate studies in literature at Oxford University.
Carolyn Weber arrives at Oxford a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of Truth, love, and a life that matters.
From issues of fatherhood, feminism, doubt, doctrine, and love, Weber explores the intricacies of coming to faith with an aching honesty and insight echoing that of the poets and writers she studied. Rich with illustration and literary references, Surprised by Oxford is at once gritty and lyrical; both humorous and spiritually perceptive. This savvy, credible account of Christian conversion and its after-effects follows the Oxford liturgical calendar as it entertains, informs, and promises to engage even the most skeptical and unlikely reader.
If you only have time to read one of these books on my list, make this one it! It is long, but do not be daunted by it. I wish I could buy everyone a copy.
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
I couldn’t leave here without including a fun novel for you to devour in three days. I have loved and read everything Liane Moriarty has written, a brilliant Australian writer with the inner dialogue of a woman completely figured out. I swear I read her books and think, “Someone has thought that too?!” I actually read this one a couple summers ago, but it is my favorite by her and such a fast, completely indulgent read, you need to get it out with a margarita by the pool.
What are some great reads you’d recommend?! I’m looking for some great fiction picks, as I tend to stay within non-fiction unless I find an author I love. Is Where’d You Go Bernadette any good?! Spill!
P.S. Our detailed, homeschool curriculum list. And the perfect journal.