Monthly Archives: June 2016


My Favorite Beach Reads

Beach reads.

They should be their very own book category. Right next to Fiction & Chick-Lit.

And I love reading on the beach. It is the absolutely ultimate for me in the category of vacation relaxation. Nothing but me, the sound of the surf, some darkly-tinted sunglasses, and a great book in my hand. Or kindle for those of you high(er)-tech beach reading folk.

So, in honor of Summer 2016, I have compiled a list of my favorite beach reads. Ever. Some suspense, some romance, some historical fiction, and some that are just plain old fashioned fun!

You can thank me later. After you have read these books, of course. Because I think these reads are the a shore thing…

Did you see what I did there?!? … 


No. 1 | Angels & Demons by Dan Brown 


Because this is one of the first books I read while on a beach and I flew through it in less than 2 days. I can still remember frantically flipping from page to page with no awareness of where I was on the beach and how dangerously burned I was about to be…

This is a truly absorbing, pulse-pounding read you won’t forget.

No. 2 | Unwritten by Charles Martin 


My love for Martin’s prose is no secret, and I figured a book with the beach on the cover makes for a pretty good beach read, I’d say.

You will be completely transported from the remote Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast to the French countryside as one man and woman, inexplicably linked, will find the secrets of their pasts and the keys to their future.

Loved everything about it!

No. 3 | The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley


A book I read last summer on the beach, and one I still cannot get out of my head. It’s the book that made me fall in love with Susanna Kearsley’s writing and with great historical fiction all over again! I have read countless of her books since picking this book up.

I promise you will not be disappointed!

No. 4 | The Lake House by Kate Morton 


One of my alltime favorite authors, and her latest work, and perhaps her best yet!

The perfect blend of intrigue, mystery, and romance. I enjoyed every last page of it and it will have you all caught up in the story and the vivid details until the end.

No. 5 | What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty 


Who could believe that a book about a woman losing her memory could be so uproariously funny at one moment and so deeply poignant the next? In the end, our heroine Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start all over again.

A book I highly recommend!

No. 6 | Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry 


A sweet summer read that I found on the local authors table at the Barnes & Noble bookstore while on HHI, SC a few summers ago. A tender read about 3 sisters and unlikely circumstances that bring them all together one summer.

No. 7 | Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews 


Best friends since Catholic grade school, now all in their mid-thirties and at the crossroads of their lives, rent a beach house all together in a small coastal North Carolina town. What’s the worst that could happen?!?

Mary Kay Andrews sizzles in this sultry little summer read.

No. 8 | Where’d you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple


Because this was honestly one of the most unique and amusing books I have ever read. To date.

Some absolutely hysterical, laugh-out-loud moments. And who doesn’t want that on the beach?

No. 9 | The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth 


Because sometimes a modern day cult classic is the only thing that will do.

Say what you want to about these books, they are pure gold on vacation. They are like a vacation all in their own instantly transporting you into a world of factions, post-apocalyptic Chicago, and a rapturous adventure that will keep you spell-bound for days at a time.

No. 10 | The Look of Love by Sarah Joi 


An easy, breezy, light-hearted (but not too much so) read with an element of surprise. A quintessential beach read.

What are some of your favorite beach reads?

Share them with us…



Having an Open House Heart

Along with a dear friend of mine, we recently started an Atlanta Tour of Churches as we each have been curious to visit and try new churches in our big, big city. A place we can get plugged in, serve, and grow. This past Sunday, we went to Passion City Church and heard from lead pastor Louie Giglio on the idea of holding “Open House” in our own hearts and lives.

Open House is not simply a date or an event that you put on the calendar, but it should be a daily attitude of the heart that God gives us.

Hebrews 13:15-16 says, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (ESV) Louie described this verse as both lungs of worship simultaneously functioning. Just as we have 2-chambered hearts, we should practice 2 lungs of worship. The first lung being the exclamation of praise- the singing of songs, the chanting lyrics, the outward expression of our interior. It is not meant to be bottled up and saved for later, but to be shared, to be expressed, and to be heard to the glory of God the Father. But, the 2nd lung of worship is the tougher one, if you ask me, and I don’t know too many others that would tell you differently. It’s the doing good and sharing with others. This is acts of service; acts of selflessness. Making ourselves low, so He can be on high.

The fact of the matter is, we are ALL worshipping people. We were made for it. And we will do it daily. It’s just that God, whom we were made to worship, can often get replaced by a worldly idol of intangible thought or idea, a dream, but we are always worshipping someone or something. We need to examine our hearts and minds to ensure our worship is God-focused and not us-centric.

I don’t know about you, but my heart’s desire is to be a 2-lunged worshipper! {Is “lunged” even a word? If not, I just made it up. You’re welcome.}

Because, that kind of 2-lunged worship is how…

  1. God changes us into the people He desires for us to be
  2. Jesus is shown; it sheds light into the world, and darkness is even further pushed back
  3. We are put into closer proximity to Jesus

It’s not that we can’t serve, it’s that we can & we may. It’s an attitude of our hearts.

In Matthew 28, we join a remarkable story shortly after Jesus has risen. Mary Magdalene has gone to the tomb, and lo and behold, it’s empty!  Jesus himself appears to them on the road back home and tells them to bring all his brothers to Galilee and He will meet them all there. In the final few verses of the chapter, He lays out what we now call the Great Commission. To “go!” and make disciples. Preach. Teach. Baptize. In His authority, he gives us the authority to go out and to do on His behalf. But, He promises, as you go, I will be with you. 

The simple truth of this passage is, if you don’t feel as if Jesus is with you, always right beside you, you may not be going. You may be staying.

If what we desire is to have close proximity to Jesus, we need to join Jesus in the mission. Service reflects the gospel, love, and heart of Jesus Christ to those around us. To the world. To serve those around us, in the midst of their circumstances, is to serve Jesus Himself.

Faith without works is dead. Faith without acts of service is dead.

Faith is living and active. It does, moves, serves, speaks, writes, cooks, cleans, paints, builds. It goes hand in hand- faith & works.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16 

Every morning, once I have arrived at work and my day begins, Mom texts me one simple word.


It has become “my” word. Our thing. Our encouragement.

I want to be like that city on a hill that never hides under the bucket.

I want to keep open house, and to be generous with my life. My time. My talents. My efforts.

By opening up to others, by keeping open house, open hearts, and open lives, we will prompt others to be more open with God. We will shine for Him and point them towards Him, the most generous Father of Heaven.

And, even more importantly, it will be done for Him and for His glory.

So, let’s shine together…