Category: Books

Best Books on Spiritual Formation, Part 1


Best books about Spiritual Formation-bookmark this for later!


I have a stack of 30 books next to me that I quickly pulled off the shelf for easy access in case I wanted to reference something in this series. I won’t list all of them here, but instead will offer you the best of the best (in my opinion), in case you want to start reading more about spiritual formation.


Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster

Sacred Rhythms – Ruth Haley Barton

Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You– John Ortberg (my review)

Invitation to the Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation– Robert Mulholland Jr.

Eugene Peterson’s 5 book series on spiritual formation:

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work”– Kathleen Norris

Spiritual Formation- Henri Nouwen (with Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird)

The Life You Always Wanted– John Ortberg

The Spirit of the Disciplines– Dallas Willard

The Divine Conspiracy– Dallas Willard


I’ll be doing another list or two later, with spiritual formation book recommendations that are a bit more tailored to a specific area, but I think these are my favorites in terms of the broad picture of spiritual formation.


What do you think I missed? Is your favorite book on spiritual formation on this list? (Please don’t say the Bible; of course that’s a given :)).





Review: The Legend of the Christmas Cookie

I have a really important, dead serious question to ask you, dear reader…

How soon is too soon to start blogging about Christmas?? ūüôā

For some¬†of you, this post is too soon and I’m offending your holiday-timeline sensibilities. Totally get that. But, for the rest of you- read on.

What a sweet book about what really matters at Christmas! A must read for families with young kids.

Today I’m giving a quick review of The Legend of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Christmas. Last year I gave you my thoughts on The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving as well as The Legend of the Candy Cane: A Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy.¬†I’ve been¬†feeling like my blog has been a bit incomplete without¬†including the other¬†Christmas legend books for kids, so here you go!¬† (more…)

Review: Wild in the Hollow

A review of Wild in the Hollow from Learning to Love

Wild in the Hollow is a story of Amber C. Haines’ life and how she finally found home– not a place for her body to reside, but a home for her soul.

Amber shares stories of struggle and of laughter. She lets readers into her broken places, and also shares of amazing places of God’s goodness showing up in her as well as through other places. We hear about how community went wrong, and how it it went very, very right. (more…)

What We’re Reading (September 2015)

This month started out really rough in the reading department. Ever have those weeks where every children’s book you pick out falls flat? Yech. We started and stopped several chapter books and it seemed like every picture book we read together immediately went into the “ready to take back to the library” bag.

We love books! Here's what we're reading for the month of September 2015

Out of sheer desperation, I requested a gaggle of books from the library, in hopes of finding a few gems. We totally hit the jackpot.


Review: Paper Good Projects- a super make-it book

Repurposing stuff is kind of our thing around here.

I’m not talking about sanding and repainting an old dresser and making it into a brightly covered kitchen china cabinet. That’d be awesome, but it’s not really in our skill set.

I’m talking about turning cardboard into an awesome set of shelves, a chair, and a house¬†for grasshoppers. We use old rootbeer bottles for our airtank on the back of astronaut suits. We make monsters out of paper bags. Our fun crafts¬†aren’t¬†really made to pass the test of time, but we do it because it’s fun and creative.


Paper Good Projects is a craft book with the ordinary materials in mind. Jodi Levine (on staff at Martha Stewart) uses a few ordinary supplies to make a wide array of crafts. Paper towel tubes, coffee filters, balloons and paper bags turn into cake toppers, masks, villages, dollhouse decorations and centerpieces.


Book Review: Thankful

Fall is coming and I am READY. I love wearing hoodies, watching football, and walking through crunchy red and orange leaves. There’s something about fall that brings back all the memories of fresh starts, new school years, great friends, and enjoying the outdoors. It’s my happy place.


They say not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to children’s books, I often do :). The book cover of Eileen Spinelli’s new book, Thankful, encapsulates most of what¬†I love about autumn, so I¬†decided to give it a review!

The cover, indeed, is a bit deceiving. It has nothing at all to do with fall (sad face), but I liked it anyway. It’s a whimsical book about being thankful for the everyday activities- green sprouts, water play, fun words, good appetites, and afternoon tea. Each everyday blessing¬†is pictured as a brother and sister playing with one another- playing doctor, digging in the garden, eating dinner, etc.¬†I love that each of the¬†featured enjoyments can be shared by¬†most kids, regardless of¬†their location or income level or anything else that often creates differences in kids’ daily experiences.

Watch this video to get a little peak inside!

Eileen Spinelli has written over 40 children’s books, one of which I’ve reviewed in the past. This is the illustrator’s (Archie Preston) first book!


Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for the opportunity to review this book! 

Review: For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

I first received my Jen Hatmaker Fan Club card back in October¬†of 2012 when a¬†few friends and I started a book club, because that’s what SAHMs do to get out of putting the kids to bed duty¬†and eat food without anyone asking us if they can have some¬†discuss interesting topics. Our first book was¬†Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

We were inspired. We were inspired to get rid of stuff and trim the excess from our lives. Perhaps more importantly, we were inspired to eat chips and salsa together more often, because that’s what Jen’s friends did (seemingly every day), and it sounded simply splendid.

Jen has a new book out now. If you haven’t heard of it you probably are not an evangelical Christian woman over the age of 30 and below the age of 50.



For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, is a collection of funny essays about serious issues. Like tights-as-leggings, parenting quirks, advertising, community, poverty tourism and hope for spicy families. In her classic Jen way, she approaches issues that matter in a way that makes people laugh while also making them think twice.

I think my favorite chapter this read through is Jesus Kids. As my kids¬†grow older (they are still so young, but 7 is way different than 3, let me tell you), I grow more confident in my belief that I can’t control them. They are going to choose how they act and what they say and what they allow themselves to think. I believe my job is to provide the boundaries, to teach them about right and wrong and all the grey in between, to provide lots of space to listen and talk and laugh and listen some more, and to point them to Jesus. Or as Jen says,

“The best we can do is give them Jesus. Not rules, not behaviors, not entertainment, not shame. I have no confidence in myself but every confidence in Jesus….Jesus is the only thing that will endure. He trumps parenting techniques, church culture, tight boundaries, and best-laid plans. Jesus can lead our children long after they’ve left our homes.”

My only teensy disappointment with this book is that not all of the content is new. The chapter entitled Hope for Spicy Families is basically this blog post¬†without the cute pics of her kids. ¬†The chapter on running the race sound a lot like this post. And then there’s the¬†quirky chapter. Perhaps this is no big deal to many fans (and certainly not to new fans!). It probably only reveals that I’ve read all of the¬†blog posts Jen’s ever written and for some reason they stick in my head like Daniel Tiger songs (“a friend just wants to play with you…” you’re welcome).

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, run to your library and put it on request (warning: you’re probably going to be waiting for a long time), or buy it over on amazon.




What We’re Reading {August 2015}

Because we love to read around here and I really enjoy finding interesting books for the kids, I thought that I’d share a few¬†of the books that each of¬†them¬†are reading (and liking) each month. Currently we’re not in the middle of any read alouds, but once the school year starts, we’ll be back into the swing of things and I’ll start including family books on the list too.



Review: The Adventures of Rooney: Hannah, The Belle of Prayer

One afternoon a few weeks ago, I called Aly and Ada over to my desk because I wanted to read a book to them.

They were a bit confused because book and desktop computer don’t really make sense to them, but they came over anyway. They were curious. These ebooks are mysterious things! ūüôā

Bible Belles Cover

I sat them down on my lap and read them a book coming out soon called The Adventures of Rooney Cruz:  Hannah- The Belle of Prayer by Erin Weidemann. We meet Rooney, a kind, spunky, modern day 9 year old girl.