Best Books {so far…}

2018 has been an exceptional reading year thus far.

And you know what I think the difference has been?


Intentionality in the time I invest in reading and the intentionality that I practice in selecting book titles to read.

So, I wanted to share the best so far! I am well on my way to some personal reading goals in 2018!

Easily the best book I have read so far this year (and, might I say, the best book I have read in a long, long time), is Georgia Hunter’s debut historical epic, We Were the Lucky Ones. 


GoodReads.com says, “It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer… But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety… Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere… An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive.”

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to all my reader (and non reader) friends alike! This novel hit all the marks for me- made me laugh, cry, ache, and hope.

Big 5 Star rating!

I continued in the Armand Gamache’s Murder Mystery series by author Louise Penny; book 2 in this prolific series was A Fatal Grace. 


At a Boxing Day Curling match in the charming town of Three Pines, just outside of Quebec, a murder is committed in broad daylight and in front of the entire town. So brings our unlikeliest of heroes, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, back to Three Pines and all its quirky characters.

I enjoyed Book 1, but I must say, her books just keep getting better & better! Can’t wait for Book 3- The Cruelest Month. Won’t be too long until I pick that one up!

I took a step way outside of my reading comfort zone and went on a recommendation of a friend and read Ready Player One, a futuristic sci-fi adventure story by Ernest Cline.


So fun and addicting and jam packed with 80’s pop culture references.

Thoroughly enjoyed this wild & twisty ride with all sorts of plot twists and filled with delighted 80’s pop culture tidbits. Wade, and all his gunter friends, were true little “heroes” you couldn’t help but stand up and cheer for! Wade was so plucky and confidant, but also deeply compassionate and highly-relatable, even for non-gamers like me!

My only criticism is the use of language in the book. It took me out of the story a few times, and that’s why it is not getting 5 stars from me.

I am also thoroughly enjoying my re-read of both the Harry Potter Series as well as CS Lewis’ classic Chronicles of Narnia this year. There are 7 books in each series and I have read 6 total- 4 from one series and 2 from the other.

HOGWARTS… A School of Witchcraft and Wizardry… He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived the unforgivable killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who once attempted a brutal takeover of the entire Wizarding world. And, he is bound to return…


NARNIA…where the woods are thick and cold, where Talking Beasts are called to life…a new world where the adventure begins…


Overall, I am enjoying the re-read of each even more than I remember from the first reading. Knowing the endings, knowing the characters as I do, I am noticing so many little details that would have been invisible upon the first reading, but are incredibly important to the overall themes of the novels and the overarching plot and story lines.

I highly recommend re-reading old favorites. It’s just like revisiting old friends you haven’t caught up with in a while.

I also read Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley, one of my favorite authors. Every time I am in a book store, and I see one of her titles on the shelf, something comes over me and I have to pick it up and compulsively read it until I close the back cover.


Her writing is so atmospheric, and although this is not one of her best works in my opinion, I did really enjoy this one.

“Tormented by horrific nightmares since the death of her baby five years before, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw agrees to accompany an author to Wales, where she encounters an eccentric young widow desperately afraid for her own infant’s safety and a reclusive playwright who could be her only salvation.”

And, what you may ask, is currently on the nightstand? A couple of books actually…



So, what are you reading right now?



Blinded by Comparison

I often find myself saying it to others, “Comparison is the thief of all joy!” And it’s so very, very true.

And yet, I still find myself all too often imbibing in comparing my life, my possessions, my haves and have-nots, and ultimately my story to those of others.

I was in one of those moods earlier this week, and I was elbow deep in comparison. And then I read this blog post from Nicki Koriarz on Proverbs 31. And she writes…

“The world loves to shout about success, but we seldom speak of our secret sorrows… And comparison is often a quiet, sorrowful place we don’t invite others into.”  

And I so identified with those 2 lines.

Perhaps you too?!?

Pinterest Image

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)

“Have you ever had a situation that ended up not being anything like it appeared to be?

I was off on an adventure with my friend Amy. A “junking” adventure. You know, sorting through what some consider trash and turning it into home décor treasure.

But our adventure on an old farm led me in a completely different decorating direction. Because somehow, a sweet baby donkey ended up coming home with me.

Only problem was, I discovered donkeys can’t live alone. So, I did some negotiating and ended up with not one, but TWO donkeys. And according to the man selling me these donkeys, the girl was pregnant.

Basically, it was a BOGO (Buy One-Get One) deal, and I was thrilled.

Since my husband and I are first-generation farmers (read: we have no idea what we’re doing), surprisingly we found out donkeys are pregnant for 11 to 14 months!

And so began: Baby Donkey Watch.

For months, I went outside each day to love on Helen and her ever-growing belly. I posted pictures on social media and everyone became excited about this coming baby donkey.

But 11 months went by, then 12, 13, 14 months … and still no baby donkey. Yet Helen kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Puzzled, I called the donkey expert to come figure out this situation. I explained things and he gave Helen a quick once-over. Then he said to me (in his deep southern accent), “Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you this, but that donkey isn’t pregnant.”


Oh. My. Word.

I could not believe it. I mean, I had felt Helen’s stomach move! And why was she getting wider and wider?

Things are not always as they seem.

Honestly, when I think about one of the greatest struggles of my life, comparison, this is a truth I’ve had to pour into my heart over and over.

Comparison tricks me into looking at what others have and who they are and I wonder if somehow, they measure higher in God’s eyes than I do. When I look at others’ success, it’s easy to fall into a destructive mindset. And as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12, comparison actually makes us unwise.

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

Wisdom helps us see beyond every seemingly perfect situation and know there’s usually another story being written. That story is rarely told.

The world loves to shout about success, but we seldom speak of our secret sorrows.

And comparison is often a quiet, sorrowful place we don’t invite others into.

Helen’s stomach grew and grew because she was just … well, eating a lot. Her new home is a pasture with maybe too much grass to feed on. So, dreadfully, I had to pop open my phone and craft a social media post to fill in the entire baby-donkey-watch fan base on this outcome.

People were disappointed, but mostly just laughing with us, not at us.

And I know it’s a super trivial example, but each time I look at Helen I remember, things aren’t always as they seem. And I want to be wise when I look at the world around me so comparison doesn’t compromise the unique story God is writing through my life.”


1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV)