Book List – Club 31 Women A Passion for Husband, Home, & Family Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Book List – Club 31 Women 32 32 7 Encouraging Books for When Life is Hard Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:00:18 +0000 7 Encouraging Books for When Life is Hard

Sometimes life it just plain hard. There are sorrows, loss, brokenness, hurts.

It’s the way of this world we live in, where everything simply does not go as planned.

Yet, even here, God’s faithfulness is astounding. He is good, even through sorrow. He is gracious, even through brokenness. He is gentle, even through hurts.

You don’t have to just take just my word for it though. These truths are being stirred up in the Body of Christ. I know, because I’ve watched book after book by fellow Believers hit the shelves. Books that tell stories of incredible brokenness, incredible loss, incredible sorrow—and God’s ever-present grace and compassion and comfort.

If you are struggling through a difficult season, this list is for you.

The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot

When I was struggling through infertility, a friend sent me this book. I read it slowly, underlining passages that spoke right through my sorrows and into my heart. If you are feeling the loneliness that comes with hard seasons of life, The Path of Loneliness is the perfect book for you.

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For the Love of Discipline: 5 Books That Will Get You There! Fri, 13 Jan 2017 01:00:23 +0000 For the Love of Discipline: 5 Books That Will Get You There!

As a child, I hated the word “discipline”. But as an adult halfway through my thirties, I have come to appreciate the word and the action it represents.  If it was not for discipline, my house would be a complete mess, I would eat every carton of ice cream I could get my hands on, my checkbook would never get balanced, and I would be a wimpy Christian.

Spiritual Discipline

While there are mornings when I can’t wait for the alarm to ring, waking me for the time when I cozy up in my smooth leather chair to read the Bible and pray, that’s not usually how I feel.  It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with God; it’s just that I listen to the distractions of life more than my desire for God. In those moments, I have to train myself to do what I know is best: to discipline my wandering heart in choosing God over my to-do list.

Learning how to exercise my spiritual muscles isn’t a solitary sport. Through the years, I’ve met some friends who have encouraged me and taught me how to develop my spiritual discipline.

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A List of the Best Christmas Story Collections to Read Fri, 16 Dec 2016 01:00:09 +0000 A List of the Best Christmas Story Collections to Read

I love many kinds of books, but Christmas stories have a special place in my heart. Every year, I scour the huge used book store near me for yet another one to add to my stack, and happily read as many as I can as soon as the calendar changes to December and the month of Christmas is finally here.

While I can’t pin my love of stories in general on a single book, I can tell you which book is responsible for my great love of Christmas Collections. A family friend gave me a paperback collection of Christmas stories by Joe L. Wheeler when I was eleven. It was called Christmas In My Heart. Ever since that day I’ve dreamed of one day owning all of the dozens of volumes of Christmas in My Heart that were ever published.

Sometimes people ask me why I love Christmas stories so much. I think it’s because, in a time when our world often feels dark and unkind, I cherish the reminders that there is still good and beauty in this world.  And like the time Christ was a babe in a rustic manger, He still comes down to our humble homes to be “God with Us”.

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More Than 11 Books to Put You in the Christmas Spirit Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:00:21 +0000 More Than 11 Books to Put You in the Christmas Spirit

There is nothing quite like curling up in an old armchair before a blazing fire, perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee and a good book. At my house, we read literally year-round, but the short winter days seem to call to the bibliophile in me in a unique way. Emptying a high cabinet where we store Christmas books during the rest of the year, we find many picture books about Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, and snow. We have pop-up books and easy readers and beautifully illustrated picture books which bring back sweet, warm memories.

However, in the past few years, I’ve learned that “Christmasy” reading doesn’t have to be a contained in a 32-page hardback about a reindeer with a red nose! With this mind, I’ve compiled a list of eleven books that are a bit longer reads, perfect for cozy December nights. Several of them would be great to read aloud to children, others are intended for adults. Each of them is a heart-warming, wintry title sure to put you in the spirit.


1. A Coat-hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes

I have been an avid Estes fan since I became an independent reader.

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6 Inspiring Books to Encourage You in Hospitality Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:18 +0000 6 Inspiring Books to Encourage You in Hospitality

A bowl of fire-roasted goat passed around under an inky Kenyan sky, the unforgettable smell of camel and smoke permeating the air. A ride offered by an acquaintance so the foreign student could join a Bible study at her temporary church. A perfectly made cappuccino and slice of toast waiting every morning, crafted by a woman who didn’t speak a word of English.

The common denominator between a goat, a ride, and daily breakfast? Home. I have been on the receiving end of hospitality all around the world, and no matter what language was spoken (or not spoken) or what we ate, I have felt at home because of other people’s willingness to give a piece of themselves to a stranger.

It’s inspiring to think I have the same opportunity to create a sense of place and belonging for other people, even my own family, by keeping an open heart and home. We should always be on the lookout for ways to offer hospitality, but the holidays are full of opportunities to welcome others into our homes with care and to be a little beacon of peace when we visit others.

The following six books approach hospitality with different nuances and styles but all have been instrumental in shaping my view of hospitality.

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9 Engaging Children’s Bible Story Books Fri, 18 Nov 2016 01:00:19 +0000 9 Engaging Children’s Bible Story Books

“I know that story!”

I was just as excited as my five-year-old was to know he recognized the Bible story we were reading. While I grew up on flannelgraph Sunday School lessons each week, we keep our children with us during the church service so they can learn along with us. But we’ve realized that means we have to be more proactive about teaching our children not just the big truths of the Bible but also telling them the beloved stories of the heroes and kings, the saints, and sinners recorded in Scripture.

Retelling the Old

The beauty of telling and retelling the old, old story in different ways and with different books is the way our children learn to recognize the story within the story. And it’s humbling to realize that the more I explain the Scriptures to them, the more I see for myself the way the Old Testament points to the New.

While word for word Bible passages make up much of our family devotions and memory work, we also like to use Bible story read-alouds that reinforce biblical truths while instilling in our children a love for the story of Jesus and His love.

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7 Books to Help You Leave Legalism and Grow In Grace Fri, 11 Nov 2016 01:00:56 +0000 7 Books to Help You Leave Legalism and Grow In Grace

I grew up in the average, conservative Christian home of the 1980s.  Each week I attended Sunday School, morning worship service, evening worship service, Wednesday night prayer meeting, youth group, and sometimes a Bible study with my friends.  Each summer I attended Vacation Bible School and when I aged out of attendance, I was there to serve.

At the end of sixth grade, I had a comprehensive understanding of Old and New Testament survey.  And by the time I entered my high school years, I could explain terms such as “individual soul liberty” and “dispensations”.  But ask me to define “grace” or “mercy” and I couldn’t tell you what they really were, let alone how they were different.

The Power of Grace

While I knew I was a sinner, that God sent Jesus to be my Savior, and that the only way to Heaven was by accepting this free gift of eternal life, I did not understand how that changed my life after the moment of salvation.  I looked at it all as a series of steps…a checklist for my spiritual life.  I read the Bible looking for the things I was to do or not to do and then began to comply.

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25 Delightful Advent Books for Children Fri, 04 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0000 25 Delightful Advent Books for Children

My husband is terrible at surprises. I can tell he has something up his sleeve from the little crinkles that form around his eyes when he’s talking about a date night he has planned or a present he wants to give. Without prodding, he will spill all the details.

It’s a quality I’ve come to adore. For him, sharing the excitement of anticipation is better than pulling off a grand surprise. That’s how I feel about Advent. Celebrating on December 25th is wonderful, but the reveling in the Christmas season imparts some extra joy.

On a spiritual level, I love the escalating tension as the advent of Jesus’ birth approaches — visits from the supernatural, relational conflict, long journeys, and finally the lowly birth of our precious Savior.

On a bit more superficial level, I love all the different countdowns associated with Advent. From the cardboard holiday scenes whose windows reveal a waxy, chocolate shape to the numbered mittens filled with peppermint nougat and little gifts my mom started to send me when I was in college, I enjoy them all.

Since having kids, my husband and I have adopted a book Advent tradition as a way to count down until Christmas.

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6 Fantastic Fantasy Series for Tweens and Teens Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:25 +0000 6 Fantastic Fantasy Series for Tweens and Teens

I blame The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for my love of the fantasy genre. As the pages turned, the cold snow bit my cheek, Mr. Tumnus’ tea burned my tongue, and Aslan’s roar of victory filled my ears.  I devoured the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia series and continued with A Wrinkle in Time, The Princess and The Goblin, The Hobbit, and many more.

Why the deep love for fantasy?

It’s a lot of fun! Where else can you strap on a sword to storm a castle, ride a flying horse, tame a dragon (or maybe kill one), battle goblins, and be true friends with royalty?

But more importantly, fantasy teaches honor, courage, and hard work. Even the basic fantasy reader knows that a true king is the first into battle and the last to leave.

Above all, though, the fantasy genre can give us a deeper understanding of God. C.S. Lewis is one of the masters of using fantasy elements to teach us more about God. In his series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan is an example of Jesus Christ.

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Amazing Missionary Adventures Your Children Should Know Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:43 +0000 Amazing Missionary Adventures Your Children Should Know

I grew up in Alaska.

The short summers there have days that never end. And if it wasn’t raining, and the mosquitoes weren’t too bad, we would be out until well past a reasonable bedtime.

But when winter came, it was dark and cold. The evenings were long, and perfect for reading books by the dozen. My siblings and I spent hours almost every night, curled up around the wood stove reading or listening while my parents read aloud from book after book every winter of my childhood.

Missionary Heroes

Those evenings around the fire served as introductions to some of the greatest men and women who ever lived: missionary heroes. David Livingstone, the abolitionist explorer. Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission. Mary Slessor, the brave woman who wasn’t afraid to go alone where Jesus called her. Brother Andrew, the man whom God gave extra courage. Gladys Aylward, the little woman who was loved by the people she went to serve.

Their names were like the names of old family friends. Their stories echoed in my heart long after the last page of the book was read, and long after I grew up and moved away from home.

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