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1. A lighter summer read for those times when your mind is tired and you simply need to relax and get caught up in a good story — but a story that still has “weight” — not so fluffy it will fly away.

2. A meatier read to restore your soul and give you vision

This morning I had breakfast with my daughter-in-law Julie who is here at my cabin with me with her five, soon to be six, children. She said “I have to have a lighter book to escape from my busy life, and one where I can laugh. But neither do I want to “live” there — I also want to be reading something of depth.” Great model.

I’ve added my new column on my homepage where I tell you what I’m reading now. Give me your input — do you like this or not? I will try to give you some lighter books too — for it is summer and we need some beach reads. I am going to recommend The Help soon — what a great fast read by a new author that is hard to put down yet has some weight.  I’m also preparing for my annual summer get together with two  friends, and we always read a heavier book to discuss. Keeps us accountable. Reading Lewis’s Weight of Glory and can hardly believe I’ve never read it, though I know so many great quotes from it. Transforming. Hard to keep from underlining it all.

Give us names for #1 of books you could not put down, but also impacted you.

Give us names for #2 books that transformed your life and you heartily recommend.

I’m expecting to compile a great list. Name the book and give a sentence as to why you recommend it.

Thanks ahead of time!

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  1. Dee, have you read The Hidden Face of God by Michael Card? If so I am wondering what you thought of it.

      1. I am thinking of ordering it and there is another on similar subject matter A Sacred Sorrow. I can’t decide which one to get.

  2. Give us names for #1 of books you could not put down, but also impacted you.

    “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers: I really saw just how much God loves me, and I felt so loved by God it brought such intimacy to our relationship.

    Give us names for #2 books that transformed your life and you heartily recommend.

    “The Shack” by William P. Young: Freed me to think of other perspectives of God and less on religious ways of perfections.

    “The Sacred Romance” by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge: I fell deeper in love with God.

    “Captivating:Unveiling The Mysteries Of The Feminine Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge: It made me freer to be a woman and feel more beautiful

  3. “How to Have that Difficult Conversation” by Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

    This book changed my perspective on communication and how to talk about the difficult things with a balance that allows everyone to feel part of a team with a common goal rather than two completely opposing parties.

    “Dancing with Destiny” by Jill Austin

    I really experienced great levels of freedom in reading this book because it suggested different thoughts to focus on to encourage dreaming about the future rather than be afraid of it and shut it down.

    “Living Gently in a Violent World” by Stanley Hauerwas & Jean Vanier

    This book opened my eyes to some of the ways our society encourages double messages about what equality and acceptance of one another actually means and feels like from a perspectives I’d never considered before.

  4. #1 – I just finished Francine Rivers’ newest book, “Her Mother’s Hope”. Anything by Francine Rivers is excellent in my opinion, just the type of novel I am interested in reading, not too fluffy! I have enjoyed Charles Martin’s novels in the past few years as well.

    #2 – Currently in the middle of “Lies Women Believe” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. God is using this book tremendously in my life. It seems like every time I pick it up it speaks to something I am dealing with. Truly a must read for every Christian woman. It is also easy to read, which I appreciate. Recently finished “Spectacular Sins” by John Piper. Very good, helps to understand God’s plan throughout the whole Bible as well as reexamine how we see sin and seemingly bad things that happen in our lives.

    Always searching for books I haven’t read yet! Someone mentioned the Book of Common Prayer…am thinking about checking that out…so many good books written years ago too!

  5. Captivating was very good. It helped me to see into my own heart and desires. Life has a tendency to beat down our dreams and that book helps us revive them.

    I have enjoyed all of Francine Rivers books. I saw the movie of The Last Sin Eater and it was the only thing of hers that I did not really like. Maybe I didn’t understand it. Leota’s Garden was one of my favorites from Rivers. The main theme of that one is how destructive it is to keep secrets in a family.

    I’m not much of a great literature reader because I don’t like disturbing things very much. My sister let me know that the mark of great literature is that it makes you think. I don’t dislike being made to think but God has to be at the heart of it for me. I like semi-light with a strong message and characters that desire God.

    I liked the Yada Yada Prayer Group books very much. The first one was not so good to me because the main character was a very immature Christian but it is all about her growth in relationship with other imperfect women. By the time I got to the last one I was sad to see them go. These would be great summer reads, but take all 6 with you.

    The Return of the Prodigal by Henri Nouwen was so inspiring to me. It helped me to see myself differently and to understand God and His love for me. That would be my #1 meaty soul restorer. It was also rich in art appreciation.

    I loved The Language of God because what I understood of it helped me to see the intricate, marvelously fitted together symphony of creation. It was very inspiring to me. I say what I understood, because there was a lot that went over my head.

    My favorite fiction authors are Brock and Bodie Theone. Some people don’t like them but I read every book they write and some twice. They have written a few that are not that good but not many. They do their best work when Brock (historian)does the research and Bodie develops the characters.

    Safely home was also one of my favorites and I have read quite a few books on the persecuted church. They were all good but Safely Home was the best. I read Brother Andrew to Joey and he turned up in one of the other books. I think it was Heavenly Man. It may have been Tortured For Christ which I think could use a name change. The name scares people away but it is really very inspiring because of the testimony of how close God was with them in their torture.

    That is quite enough for now I’m sure but I have the feeling I’ve forgotten something important. I am looking forward to finding some good summer reading.

    1. “The last sin eater” is a movie now and you may enjoy it more that way. You should be able to rent it at your local movie rental store. I love, love, love, Francine Rivers and have read everything she’s written. I also am a big fan of Beth Moore and John Eldredge.

  6. I enjoyed reading all the posts. Thanks for all the good suggestions.

    A book I’m presently reading that illuminates for me at this time in my life Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly beloved children, and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The book is titled The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns who is President of World Vision US. It is interesting to me that Stearns used the word “our” instead of the word “the” in the title of his book. It, for me, issues the challenge to live above mediocrity and comfort. Stearns quotes Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, who once prayed “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Been a real personal challenge. Lots of “what ifs” given to the reader.

  7. 1. Same kind of different as me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. An easy but thought provoking read. A true story of a homeless black man and a wealthy white man…. tells of their lives and how through the heart of a women their lives intersect. Gives an authentic look through the eyes of each man as they interaction with each other.

    2. The shack and a wonderful follow up book… He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen(he helped with the shack).

    3. The Quest for a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Matthew Henry….this is written in the 1600 and the language is a little difficult at times(or someone like me with a limited vocabuary). THis is a slow read and is what I call a prayer book…..I find myself every other line saying….help me Lord…change my heart……Wonderfully challenging.

  8. This message has nothing to do with reading, but I did want to let everyone know that I’ve missed all of you as I’ve been away from the computer quite a bit lately. We’re working on some home renovations and time gets away too easily. I’ll do much better managing time in the future, though, and hopefully be on much more often than I have in the month of May.

    God bless you all!

    P. S. I do like all of the book suggestions I’ve seen as I scanned the replies here… I actually have both “The Shack” and
    “Redeeming Love” but have not read them yet.

  9. 1. I enjoy historical fiction and Jane Kirkpatrick is my favorite author in that genre. Her Change and Cherish Series is the story of one woman’s restoration from personal grief to the meaning of community. It is based on the life of German-American Emma Wagner Giesy, the only woman sent to the Oregon Territory in the 1850’s to help found a communal society. The series ask the question: Can threads of an isolated life weave a legacy of purpose in community? I like Emma because I can identify with her independent and ‘I wanna call the shots in my life’ spirit. Also, like Emma, I have found one needs community. God did not create us to go at life alone.

    Another favorite author of mine is Jamie Langston Turner. She is a professor of creative writing at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. She has written seven novels. Each novel is detailed with life situations and the characters coming to realize God’s working in their lives. Turner’s stories are southern but not sappy. Each time I have read one of her novels, I have been in the midst of difficult circumstances and I gleaned encouragement from the story. I highly recommend her novels. The title of her last novel, Sometimes A Light Surprises, was taken from Cowper’s poem.

    2. My two meatier recommendations are:

    The Sacred Echo: Hearing God’s Voice in Every Area of Your Life by Margaret Feinburg. Margaret shares excerpts from her prayer journals and her own struggle with a consistent prayer life. She bares her soul for us and asks the hard questions that intimidate the average Christian. Her prayer for the reader is: “that you will begin to discover God’s voice in your life not just as a whisper but also as an echo, and that you’ll experience a contagious spirtiual awakening that can only come from knowing God”.

    My second recommendation is a novel by Khaled Husseini, the author of The Kite Runner. A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of two wives in Afghanistan. As per culture, both women are married to the same man. What these women endure is heart-wrenching, yet, what fascinated me was the eventual bonding of the two women as sisters. It is not an easy read. Worth the price of every shed tear.

  10. 1. The Last Sin Eater
    Reminded me to see God’s creation from the eyes of a child.

    “In Depth” books:
    1. Future Grace by John Piper
    Explains our motivation for worshiping God, and how relating to God “in spirit and in truth” is not founded our own effort but on the grace we’ve had, have, and WILL have.

    2. When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch
    A lesson in the true fear of God, and how having that fear of God replaces the “fear of man,” freeing believers to move through life in light of God’s perspective.

      1. I hve recently read “The Forgotten Garden” by Australian author, Kate Morton…I have purchased her earlier novel, “The House at Riverton”. I was engrossed entirely in the first book, and look forward to reading the 2nd. (both general Fiction)

        Spiritally I am always fed by re-reading “The Shack”. I can open it anywhere and receive food and “manna”. I also follow author’s blog, and enjoy that also.

        This summer I will be studying “Battling Unbelief”, as I re-focus and re-set life after death of dear husband of 46 years. My spiritual life has taken on deeper and more meaningful focus and meaning.

        Bonnie Walker

  11. Our special needs daughter, Kendra 23, just got out of the hospital. She had 5 grand mall siezures friday as she had been sick to her stomach for 3 days & had trouble keeping her siezure meds down. She has cerebral palsy. I am always with her 24/7 & she wanted mommy even closer at the hospital! I just had time to grab my little daily bread booklet as we rushed her there & the Lord kept my spirits up reading it as she slept. I read my bible every day, but this study lifts me up so much! I even sleep with Kendra & don’t get to read like I would like at home as the light bothers her. I’m 60 myself & have become disabled also caring for her over the years lifting her so much as she siezured untill I could no longer lift her. Now we just sit wherever we are untill someone can help us as she weighs too much. We love her so much & is a blessing & joy to us but a worry to what will happen to her when I go to be with the Lord one day. I give this worry over to the Lord all the time. Daddy helps as much as he can but she wants mommy the most of course to dress & bath her & help her in the bathroom. I don’t get to do the things most ladies take for granted like a nap or reading or shopping or painting (my passion..haven’t picked up a paint brush since she was born) or just time for myself. I’m not as versed or wise as you in the word so I don’t comment as much but I love the Lord with all my heart & soul & I am a prayer warrior & will pray for all of you as I have so much already & will continue to. I have no books to recommend only Dee’s which I love & crave! I love you all! Your sister in Christ

    1. Joyce, I hope you see this – your sharing of how you care for Kendra has inspired me. You may not have the time to read many books, but you are LIVING OUT ALL OF THE WISDOM FOUND IN ANY BOOK YOU COULD EVER READ, AND YOU ARE LIVING OUT THE GOSPEL EVERY DAY.

    2. Joyce
      When I read this yesterday I thought of you. I am lifting you, your husband, and Kendra up to the Lord in prayer. Thank you for faithfully praying for me.

      Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;
      The storms are raging on God’s deep-
      God’s deep, not yours; be still and sleep.

      Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;
      God’s hands will still the Tempter’s sweep-
      God’s hands, not yours; be still and sleep.

      Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;
      God’s love is strong while night hours creep-
      God’s love, not yours, be still and sleep.

      Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;
      God’s heaven will comfort those who weep-
      God’s heaven, not yours; be still and sleep.

      1. Thank you so much, Tammy

  12. Thank you Dee & Susan so much

  13. These comments are so helpful! So many I will now add to my summer reading list! Thank you!
    I would like to recommend two books: 1) “Shanghai Girls” by Lisa See. The Dallas Morning News says it best: “If you’re looking for one of those wonderful ‘take me someplace exotic and unfamiliar’ books….you won’t do better than Shanghai Girls.” I know I was so caught up in the story that I could not put it down…….no fluff in this one!
    2) “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer is a favorite of mine and I plan to re-read my marked up, highlighted, underlined book this summer. As Elizabeth Elliot has said: ” Plainly shows us ordinary folks what it means to know God.” Packer is easy to read and I find such joy and many challenges while pursuing knowing God.

    And last, but certainly not least, I am so looking forward to the “Women of Worship” Blog study you are beginning on June 1st. I did the study with a group of women that meet in my home on Tuesday evenings. It was life changing for us all. Thank you Dee!

  14. God Bless You Dee in trying with GREAT effort to keep all us widowed sisters connected.


  15. I must add one more author to my list above…..Mike Mason. Mystery of Marriage….with beautiful language and such spiritual depth, he paints the truest picture of what marriage should be…definitley not a how to book. Some of his other books are….Champagne for the Soul( this is a journey to joy), Practicing the Presence of People(an eye opening book the can be read as an devotional….short chapters. The gospel according to Job. He has a gift of unwrapping truths that are deep within us….he just gives words to them.