Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Short Stack of Soul-Stretching Goodies For You



Calling all exhausted yet expectant souls.  

If you're craving peaceful solitude, a refreshing touch, and restoration at the deepest level, you're in good company.

We're thirsty for something more, and in our quest, we lean into pages that lead us into thoughtful Christ-focused reflection and expectant renewal, a spiritual rekindling even as we catch a glimpse of what God's seems to be inviting us to 'round the next bend.

So would you cuddle up with a cozy old quilt, a favorite cup of something warmly fragrant, and join me in paging through these volumes?

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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living ~ Shauna Niequest

If a frantic busyness defines your lifestyle, if exhaustion and burnout best speak of where you find yourself, if the practice of your faith has disappointed, Shauna's book will speak deep to your soul.  This series of short essays pack a punch and make this volume a perfect reflective companion, easy to pick up and put down, yet filled to overflowing with more than a bit of savvy wisdom.

Be prepared to say 'no more' to your overwhelming, unsatisfying, multitasking lifestyle in order to embrace emotional tranquility, healthier relationships, and a more substantial faith.

I paused to reflect often as I paged my way through Shauna's book.  Many of her keen observations resonated deeply for me, even though my lifestyle hasn't included jetting from hither to yon in big demand at speaking engagements.  If this hadn't been a library book, my copy would be highlighted, underlined, and dog-eared.  And if you're a journaler, you'll find many chapters to be profound jumpstarters for your own intimate conversations with Christ.

Yet while this is a beautifully penned volume of one woman's self-examination and drastically altered lifestyle, I would have found this to be a richer offering if Shauna had shared Scripture and talked in more detail about how her relationship with Christ was deepened by the series of game-changing decisions she's made along the way.



7 Days of Soul Care: A Guide to Letting God Do the Extraordinary With Your Ordinary ~ Dolly Lee

Social media's incessant demands, the whirlwind of busyness we've embraced, and the recent election madness have done nothing but distract us from the care and feeding of our weary, parched souls.  We're hungry for something more, a deeper faith, a healing in the wounded places.

If we've ever needed a spiritual time-out, it would be right about now.

You'll find Dolly's slim yet hefty soul care companion to be a lovely spiritual mini-retreat, a nurturing, Christ-centered guidebook you'll return to again and again.

Dolly writes out of her own experience with anxiety, depression, and PTSD ... and if you're struggling in these areas, you'll find that this lovely invitation isn't at all daunting or intimidating but rather warm, welcoming, and quite user friendly.

She writes, 'when we rest in our true identity and worth in God, we can be exceptional in the ordinary things of life because we believe our worth is secure ... we're free to love others without needing their affirmation to shore up our self-worth.  We can stop hustling for love.'

Deeply thought-provoking questions and a beautiful prayer end each chapter.  What a wonderful personal study ... or a beneficial selection for your small group or Bible Study!  Click on the red book title for a sneak peek ... and be sure to visit her blog, SoulStops, too.

I applaud Dolly for aiming toward donating $500 from 7 Days of Soul Care proceeds to the International Justice Mission.  She's just that kind of woman.  My deepest thanks to her for inviting me to serve on her book launch team, a first ever for me and a delightful yet eye-opening experience on the many steps it takes for an author to birth her literary baby.


Brave Faith: A 31 Day Devotional Journey ~ Mary Geisen

I haven't read Mary's book yet, but have experienced her Brave Faith journey via her blog.  Along the way she's introduced the words brave and courageous into my vocabulary ... words that I'd never choose to describe myself.

If you like to play it safe, if you're an avid comfort zone enthusiast, than Mary's devotional might win you over to discover what brave looks like in living out a more adventurous faith.

She writes, 'Brave is a journey, a step by step walk, moving forward, leaving fear, uncertainty and other stumbling blocks behind.  It is reminding yourself that as a child of God, you were made for more.'

Selected verses and a TAKE FIVE opportunity to reflect on what you've gleaned conclude the 31 chapters.  Again, here's yet another profitable personal study ... or a selection to consider for your small group or Bible Study!  Click on the red book title for a sneak peek.



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And great big congrats to my dear friend, Carol!  Halo Magazine just published her article, Finding God's Delight After Divorce in their October issue.

Carol was a profound player in my own personal story, Finally ... In Which She Spoke the Dreaded 'S' Word, that I shared with you back in August.

And both Carol and Mary were two members of our stellar panel of single women in this year's BIGGEST blog post 'round these parts - Dear Church ~ Heartfelt Notes From 8 Single Women.

I'd love for you to linger just a bit longer to read these important offerings.

What books are in your mid-autumn stack?


Sharing the goodies with

60 comments:

  1. Dear Linda,
    I am honored to be part of your recommended "stack of soul stretching" books. Love the alliteration. You were one of the midwives that helped birth my book baby. Your prayers and encouragement were so important and appreciated, my friend :-) Thank you! XOXO

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    1. A midwife, huh? Not anything I would have ever called myself, Dolly! Thank you for inviting me along for the ride. You taught me many practical and spiritual lessons over the last few months ...

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  2. Thanks, pal, for the congrats and mentioning my beginning efforts at writing...

    Glad we are always there for each other. Cool how God works that out!!!

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    1. I'm just plain proud of you, friend.

      Praise God He brings beauty from ashes, restores the years the locusts have eaten.

      How awesome is He.

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  3. I am thrilled to be among these amazing authors. Thank you for sharing my heart, my journey and a glimpse into my brave faith. Every "yes" brought me closer to God who loved nothing more than giving me more than I could imagine while providing the bravery needed along the way.

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    1. Thanks for making 'brave & courageous' come alive in my life, Mary. I'm so grateful that God takes us where we are and then infuses His very life into our souls.

      Where would we be without Jesus?

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    2. Congrats, Mary; So good to see you here and I'm so excited to read how God has blessed you with bravery and love :-)

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    3. Honestly, I'm in awe of you both. I couldn't begin to fathom producing what you have both done in recent months. God bless you, my friends!

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    4. Thank you Linda for cheering us on. Dolly-I am looking forward to savoring your book in the future.

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    5. I love championing / cheering!

      ;-}

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  4. Thank you for the recommendations, Linda.

    "What books are in your mid-autumn stack?" Right now, apart from finishing writing my latest book on reflections, I am also re-reading "Prison to Praise" by Merlin Carothers.

    God bless.

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    1. Hey Victor ... keep us posted on your latest book, ok?

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  5. No serious reading going on here at the moment beyond my daily pause in The Word. I am always thankful for your recs!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. Daily pause. Well said, friend.

      And that's where I'm headed right now ...

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  6. What a delightful, refreshing stack of books, Linda! I've only read Dolly's book of those you mentioned, but they all sound good. I'll be on the watch for them!

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    1. And you have led me to a treasure trove of books the last few years, Lisa! I'm glad you're in my world ...

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  7. they sound wonderful. thanks for sharing

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  8. What a wonderful list, Linda! Thanks for sharing these.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/11/your-dying-spouse-232-narrowing-world.html

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  9. These all sound like winners, Linda. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  10. I love this post! (Obviously.)
    I'm looking forward to reading Mary's book soon, but next in my stack is Word by Word by Marilyn McEntyre. She recommends examining one word per week for scriptural and spiritual insight. Then, I'm going to tackle the Enneagram and see if I can settle on "my number" via The Road Back to You. I'm slowing down my reading pace these days. Read less . . . enjoy more!

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    1. Wow, you ARE slowing down the pace these days, Michele! I've always been amazed at the number of books you move through in addition to writing, schooling, working, and living your life.

      Read less ... enjoy more. Yes, that's wise counsel. And if a book isn't working for me, if it's not worth the time, I'm quicker to close the cover in this season and call it a day.

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  11. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I always love hearing recommendations for books. Helps me narrow down my choices ... Ah, if only I had unlimited time for reading!

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    1. Unlimited time ... now THAT would be a dream come true.

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  12. Looks like a good batch to savor over the upcoming holidays - thanks for the referrals!

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    1. Can't wait to curl up with a wonderful book within eyesight of a lit Christmas tree ... won't be long!

      ;-}

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  13. All sound wonderful, thank you for sharing, I will add them to my ever-growing list that I hope to get to this winter :)

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    1. Winter's coming quickly around here ... and I'm with you, friend ... I hope to have many quiet hours with my nose in a book!

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  14. Thanks for sharing these books here, Linda. I haven't heard of Present over Perfect, but it sounds like what God is pushing me into these days: choosing the slow, choosing relationships over crossing off a thousand things on to-do lists. I'm excited about Mary and Dolly's books as well!

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    1. Betsy, yes ... it's exciting when our friends publish, isn't it! I'm not at all envious, but I am very enthusiastic for their success.

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  15. I read Present Over Perfect recently, too, and ended up typing pages of quotes. Definitely one I'll pick up again.

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    1. For sure, Caroline! Pages of quotes spoke to me, too ... definitely worth a re-read.

      I'm glad you're here with us today!

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  16. I haven't read any of these books, but they all look right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendations, my friend. I'm so excited about Mary's! I can't wait to read that one. I've been behind on books lately. It seems my reading time is the first thing to get cut with busyness. I'm really missing it.

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    1. I hear you about the first thing to get cut when life gets chaotic, Candace. It's usually the very necessities that feed our souls!

      Why do we do that?

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  17. I am currently reading Present over Perfect and have dog-eared pages, taken notes, and underlined much but I also felt the distance between her life change and her relationship with Christ. But, she probably wanted to reach a broader audience.

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    1. Yes, yes, Susan. I appreciate what you're saying ...

      Thanks for jumping into this conversation, today!

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  18. Great suggestions.. I am currently re-reading The Old Testament Speaks, and I am amazed at how much richer and deeper I am understanding certain chapters... (last time I read this book, it was about 10 years ago!) - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Good point about how a re-read a few years later can reveal new truths, new beauties, friend.

      Maybe God's growing us and maturing us after all!

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  19. I have two of these books (Mary's and Dolly's) on my wish list. I look forward to reading both soon. Currently my reading stack has been a lot of fiction as I also am slowly making my way through a Creative Writing Course, and a University Poetry Course (which current reading is Othello). Next non-fiction that I just received recently is Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way. I think it is anyways! Sometimes something else shows up that must come first! The life of us readers can not always be predictable...

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    1. Sometimes there's nothing more relaxing than a stack of fiction just waiting our attention. Other times I want to mix it up. It often seems to end up on what books come through from the library's request list.

      And very often it's feast or famine, ya' know?

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  20. I have Present Over Perfect in my post today as well. I had heard many good things about it but I liked it even more than I expected -- loved it, in fact. Thank you for your reviews.

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    1. I love that you're here today, Jeannie.

      ;-}

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  21. Hi Linda! Lucky for me, I know Shauna, Dolly and Mary through their blogs. There is so much talent, honesty and generosity in the world of blogging, and that includes you for getting the word out on these lovely books. How blessed we are to know some of these authors!
    Ceil

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    1. You said this, Ceil --> 'there is so much talent, honesty and generosity in the world of blogging.'

      And that's why I love doing community with ya' all ... and that would certainly include you, yet another dear author friend.

      ;-}

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  22. Thank you, Linda. I have often been blessed by Dolly's and Mary's blog posts. By yours, too. :) I have only read Dolly's book yet, but they all sound soul-nurturing. Such a cozy picture to sit under a quilt with a book in hand and some coffee or tea nearby. :) I crawl under a blanket in summer and winter when I'm in my recliner. I have a lighter one for summer and a thicker one for winter, one my daughter sewed together. My hubby teases me about always being in my "cocoon." :) Blessings and hugs!

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    1. Yep, this has been a cocooning kinda day around here ... cold and damp and meant for snuggling somewhere warm.

      And that being said, I'm off to do a little reading while supper bakes and the house heats up.

      ;-}

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  23. These sound like great books, and I love the idea of a "spiritual timeout". I just wish there was more time for all the amazing books there are to read! I enjoy reading Mary's blog so hope to read her book at some point- I definitely need the encouragement to be brave at times!

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    1. Hi Lesley ... Yes, I've got a feeling most of us need much more of a spiritual timeout than we're willing to admit ... or commit to. The tyranny of the urgent calls us and we seem to be determined to head in that direction more often than not.

      Just thinkin' ...

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  24. Hi Linda,
    I have Present Over Perfect sitting on my table and haven't gotten to it yet. Sometimes I find those pauses divinely inspired because when I do pick up the book, I find it holds the words I need to read at just the right time -- kind of like your blog posts, friend! I always love a post filled with book reviews -- what could be a better topic?! None for this book-loving gal! :) xo

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    1. You just KNOW I'd love to read your review {hint, hint!}

      And thanks for that 'blog-posts hug' today, friend. Back atcha ...

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  25. Linda, the fact that you would never choose the words "brave" and "courageous" to describe yourself really struck me this morning. You may not remember this, but once in a blog comment, you used a similar adjective to describe me. You did for me what Mary has done for you, and it has made a big difference in my life. (I know this post is about books and not personal adjectives, but one sometimes leads to the other, it seems!)
    About those books ... I enjoyed "Present Over Perfect" for the most part, but I also appreciate with your thoughts about how it could have been a "richer offering." Books in my stack right now include "The Broken Way," "Uninvited" and "What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)" by Nancy Guthrie.

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    1. I do remember that conversation, Lois! Don't you love how God often speaks to us through the observations of others?

      And you're right about the dialogue that follows our posts. It goes where the wind takes it, yes? I think it's one of the best things about blogging ...

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  26. I have read other of Shaunas books. I look forward to reading them. I always enjoy when you post book suggestions. Thank you. Reading is my favorite.
    I just read a fabulous book by
    Edie Wadsworth. I so connected with all of her story. Wow. Powerful!
    https://www.amazon.com/All-Pretty-Things-Southern-through/dp/149640338X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    Always enjoy reading your thoughts !

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    1. Hey Somer! Thanks for sharing the link to Edie's book so everyone can find it easily. I've seen it featured on a number of blogs ...

      Don't you love when you connect at the deepest level with another woman's story? It's a grace that lets us know that we're not alone in our struggles ... and victories.

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  27. Sounds like we have a bevy of great books to sink our hearts and minds into. I do love Shauna Niequist's other books, so I'm sure I'd like her inspiring words. Though I'm with you on making sure it's all anchored to God's word and how that impacts our lives, Linda. Also love Dolly and hear heart, so I'm sure her book will be a keeper. And dear, sweet Mary! So very brave, so I'm sure her book will be a page-turner! Thanks for guiding us toward great read, my friend!

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    1. 'Anchored to God's word.'

      As always, you've said that so well, Beth. Any growth, any healing, any wholeness comes from His hand. I'm so grateful that He leads us along paths that bring us to much healthier places.

      Praise God.

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  28. Hi Linda! I just finished Present Over Perfect and it was such a delight, though challenging at times. I have a lot to mull over about how I can incorporate the ideas into my own life and being more present rather than aiming for applause or perfection.

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    1. For sure, Ellie ... truth be told, most of us need to find much more of our value and esteem in our faith in Christ, rather than looking all over the place for the kudos we so desperately crave.

      I really appreciate you taking the conversation in that direction today. Only our faith can fill those holes in our souls ... thank you for going there!

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda