Good Reads : On the Stack



Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing

How to live creatively with our children? How to see and think and write well?

A book for those seeking to write, but drawing still from stories out of her life as a mother and educator to her two daughters, Rumors of Water is about art and intentionality and the gentle making of a thoughtful life of beauty.

“Then one day their handwriting caught up to their imaginations, and they started putting things on paper. I never assigned them anything. They were so full of their own ideas….”

More here…


Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community

A read outside my expected shelves, edgier and sharper and (funnier!) — an achingly honest story from a life very different than my own culture and experience, a contemporary take on the quest for a faith community. Enuma and I have lived very divergent stories — but her heart is so transparent about her journey, and her writing so sharp and beautiful, one can’t help but feel a deep love for her. A finalist in the Best Books award by USA Book News, Enuma’s also a contributor to At the Still Point (mentioned below),  and a co-author of a family favorite: Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

If you’ve ever felt lost, looking for a faith community, Enuma Okoro joins you as a pilgrim:

The cost of traveling with the Divine is enduring lifelong, ceremonies of mini-deaths of self….

If you’re taking the Christian invitation seriously, these little deaths can and should happen in all areas of you life because the love of Christ seeks to invade all areas of you life…”

More here…


You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids: Preparing Your Children for the World They Live In

Mary DeMuth writes of our children growing up in a world different than ours. While our own rural, personal context is set apart by and large from the current culture, this book offers perspectives for parents to prayerfully consider…

“Jesus brings life. Obeying Him brings life. The Scriptures will become more alive to you and your children to the degree you stress the importance of following hard after Jesus.”

More here…


Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself

Pastor of a Reformed Baptist fellowship, Joe Thorn has written one needful, practical book (Crossway, 2011). I need to preach the gospel every day to person who needs it most: myself. And this book does just that, each chapter beginning: Dear Self — and then a letter of only a page or two to self follows, preaching Biblical truth. Smart, succinct and packing a punch, this is a powerful read to return to again and again — who doesn’t need to preach Truth to themselves?

“Dear Self,

When was the last time you used the word “thanksgiving” without referencing the holiday? Yes, it is appropriate that you ‘give thanks’ at the dinner table, but this easily becomes a formality void of real affection. Thankfulness is the joyful and humble response of a heart that has been transformed by grace…

Thankfulness is a good test of your faith. Its absence demonstrates that your faith is more lip service than experiential knowledge…”

More here…


Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

Wife of a youth pastor, Emily Freeman is one of those rare writers: profoundly Biblical, lyrical, transparent — memorable. Her emancipating words on these pages offer the needed keys to all women longing to take wing — and soar home to God’s heart.

“It was important for me to get to a place where I saw myself as a prodigal, because the weak recognize their need so much more quickly than the strong….

We already have the love and acceptance of our Father, so why do we try so hard to earn it?”

More here…


At the Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time

I may just be a bit smitten with this book, “a literary guide to prayer in ordinary time,” a gift sent by a thoughtful friend.

I agree with Leland Ryken, professor at Wheaton  College, who writes, “This anthology of liturgically arranged devotional literary readings is a creme-de-la-creme book — a literary treasure store and a devotional feast.”

From this week, the 25th week of ordinary time:

“My life is like a faded leaf,

My harvest dwindled to a husk;

Truly my life is void and brief

And tedious in the barren dusk;

My life is a like a frozen thing,

No bud nor greenness can I see:

Yet rise it shall — the sap of Spring;

O Jesus rise in me.

More here…


Forty years from now — it will matter little what hangs in the closet or on the walls. What will matter is how you hang your heart. What you read and what you learned and how you lived the words — how your heart turns towards the Word.