Monthly Archives: December 2015

12/27/15

Best Books of 2015

Each year I set a goal of what books I’d like to read, how many books I’d like to read and then I set out to complete those goals and check those to-do reading lists off one-by-one. But, as with any other goal, there are surprises along the way, detours if you will. And this year was no different, but the books and the stories were even better than I imagined!

Here are my favorites from the year overall:

In Fiction…

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.” 

The Nightingale

Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale won Good Reads’ 2015 Historical Fiction top spot, and I certainly know why… which is why I voted for it! Deeply moving, powerful, poignant, & great characterization. A book I will not soon forget and one I often recommend to others.

Water from My Heart

I have come to expect heart-rending & soul-altering fiction from one of my most favorite authors, Charles Martin, each and every time. And yes, that may seem like an unrealistic and impossible expectation, but each and every time, he delivers. And this story is deeply personal to Charles and when he speaks about this book, you can tell it’s different than his others.

This book is nothing short of masterful.

The Lake House

Fall 2015 marked the return of Kate Morton fiction to my life & I had been waiting with breath that was bated.

This is a unique past & present story, which she is now famous for, about the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a baby boy never solved. His older sister, now an elderly woman internationally famous for writing crime novels, is contacted by a hungry London Police Detective seeking answers and ultimately redemption from her sullied detective reputation.

Another great one from Kate Morton!

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot was a recommendation from a close friend of mine, and I have to say, it is one of the most inventive and original plots I have ever read. We meet Alice as she is being pulled off the floor of a gymnasium where she has been attending a spin class, but she has never taken a spin class in her life and she doesn’t even remember having a gym membership! In fact, she doesn’t remember anything about the last several years of her life. We journey this road with her, her friends, and family as she reconnects with old memories in order to put her life back together again, at least the life she remembers.

Gone with the Wind

So much to say about this one, but I will suffice it to say… Read it! Just read it. If you have ever thought about it, pick it up and do it. You won’t be sorry.

Truly, one of the greatest novels of all time.

And in Non-Fiction…

A few devotional books that have had a big impact on me, my learnings, my quiet time, and my prayer life.

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval - and Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes

Currently on the night stand…

It’s been a great year of reading! But, maybe you want to take a peek into a few of the books on my To Read list in 2016?

I thought you might…

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So, what’s been some of your favorite books of the year?

Any that I’ve just got to add to my list for next year? Share it with me!!

Happy reading!

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12/24/15

Jesus is King!

“When you find Him,” Herod told the visitors, “come back and tell me where He is. I have a little something of my own I want to give Him” (Matthew 2:8, paraphrased).

After hearing him out, the Magi left for Bethlehem. It wasn’t long before their familiar star rose again, leading them like a shepherd leads its sheep to a house on the outskirts of town.

When they found the King, it was no wonder He was nothing more than a murmur in Jerusalem. They entered the place where He lay and beheld a child in the arms of a young woman, practically still a girl.

There was no crown or majesty that would attract them to Him, no miracle they could see, no signs of greatness. Just a woman and her child. But there was something about that moment that only the woman, her husband, the Magi, and the child knew—something that bent the knees of those scholars to the posture of worship when they saw Him. This child was a King.

One of the Magi moved forward and produced a purse of gold, laying it at the child’s feet. Another came with a flask of myrrh, then another with a box of frankincense. Unaware that they were funding a hasty trip to Egypt necessitated by Herod’s paranoia, they gave these gifts for no other reason than to honor the one born King of the Jews.

He wasn’t even their king. Israel’s God was not their people’s god. And yet, they had come because the thought of a God of mercy with healing in His wings must have awakened in them a desire to be close to the one through whom that healing would flow. They followed the star, and after countless miles of sojourn, they found the King.

It was a quite a feat. They would rest well.

But that night as they drifted into a deep sleep of satisfaction, an angel, unfamiliar to them but well-known to Mary, stepped into their dreams and painted for them the bloody truth of who Herod really was and what he meant to do to this child. The angel warned them to take another route home (Matthew 2:12).

Herod’s motives were murderous. History would remember him not only dripping with the blood of his own wives and sons, but with the blood of countless others, mostly boys under the age of two. But not this boy king. Herod would not take His life (John 10:18).

The Magi departed for home in secret, avoiding the area around Jerusalem.”

— Advent devotional for She Reads Truth Advent Study, written by Russ Ramsey
{adapted from Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative}

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips she shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” – Isaiah 11:1-5, ESV 

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I am always struck by the idea of the Magi bowing down to a king who wasn’t even theirs, a God who wasn’t their god. It’s a rich and powerful foreshadowing of when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that this Holy Child, this baby in a Bethlehem manger, is Christ the Lord! The promised and prophesied Victor who takes away the sins of the world.

Delighting in the truth of His word this Christmas… Jesus is King!

Merriest of merry CHRISTmases to you and your family & blessings in His name!

xoxo….

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