Weekend Care Package

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Links I Love

How to Deal with People Who Try to Bring You Down by Jennifer Dukes Lee @ in(courage)

These Unproductive Winter Days by Addie Zierman

11 Books to Curl Up With This Winter by Anne Bogel @ modernmrsdarcy.com

What Mentally Strong Leaders Believe  by Amy Morin @ drcloud.com

On Making Plans and Hearing God’s Voice by Emily Freeman

Art Inspiration

by Sarah Golden

by Aliza Latta

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Essentials Oils Weekend Tip

*shop oils here

 

Collecting Peace; A Seed

Because sometimes I need practical steps that ease anxiety or help me experience peace, today I am beginning a series called Collecting Peace.

Like the way my 3 year old collects acorns and leaves from the ground and brings them to me. It’s nice, that tangible feeling of holding some small item in my hand.

What comes next for Oliver is the sorting and the lining up, like when he lines up his cars.

That is my vision is for this series- focusing on a different small object each week.  One that reminds me of encouraging truth or that helps me fight despair & anxiety in a practical way.

So today I will begin with the pomegranate seed.

Did you know “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seed-like”? It is in connection to a pomegranate, because garnets look like bright red seeds that can be found in the fruit.

Garnet is also the birthstone for the month of January, which seems fitting since January is the beginning of the year, like the seed represents the beginning of growth.

“See, the former things have taken place,

and new things I declare;

before they spring into being

I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9

I keep coming across different “seed” analogies in blogs posts, on podcasts, and in books.

I pay attention when synchronization like this occur.

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“Though it is not what it will be, a seed has all it needs even while carrying a hopeful vision for transformation in the future.

I’m learning to embrace the small, hidden, slow-growing part of my soul and to practice the spiritual discipline of knowing I have everything I need.” -Emily Freeman

During the Winter months when green growth is not obvious, when brittle branches brush against grey skies there still remains the truth of the seed. A reminder that breakthroughs can happen. Breaking-out of a shell or breaking through the soil above ground.

My close friend Molly just gave birth to her son Evan last week. During those nine month of pregnancy there was  definitely discomfort for her. All the while during those 9 months we were in the process of renovating our home. Also an uncomfortable trying process!

And so here we are near breakthrough or in Molly’s case already there. She is now at home cuddling her baby boy, and our home is so very close to being completed. And together we celebrate the newness.

But during the times of waiting and persevering the idea of the seed gave my soul peace. A peace to trust even in slow or difficult growth. It reminded me to value the small beginnings and small steps forward.

The seed gives us reason to hope and not despair.

Practical Steps to Remember the Truth of the Seed

  1. Draw or paint pictures of seeds. Hang it somewhere as a reminder.
  2. Plant a seed in a flower pot and find a window to set it by.
  3. Practice lettering or calligraphy with the phrase by Emily Freeman: “Though it is not what it will be, a seed has all it needs even while carrying a hopeful vision for transformation in the future. ” -Emily Freeman
  4. Don’t give up on a project you feel called to; take the next right step, while also remembering that sometimes waiting and listening is apart of the process.

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Weekend Care Package

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Links I Love

Off the Track by Greer Oharah @ Ordinary Epiphanies

“It’s been snowing here this week. All that white snow we were dreaming about at Christmas is here and seems like it’ll stay put for a bit. It falls so steadily, so quietly, hour after hour. It makes the world seem like a softer place, a gentler place with a little more lenience. Slow down, it whispers as it covers the roads and sidewalks and windows. Drive slow, walk slow, go slow.” -Greer Ohara, @ ordinaryepiphanies.com

Tending, Pruining and Waiting by Aimee Kollmansberger @ middlemercies.com

“After so much tending and pruning, it is now a season of waiting. Wait for His presence. Wait for the growth. Wait for the fruit. I am a producer, and He is showing me again that I cannot produce connection, fruit, maturity. That is His work and His timing and I wait. I Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave the growth.””

-Aimee Kollmansberger, @ middlemercies.com

Buzz Buzz by Lisa Leonard

Changing Personal Traditions by Francine Rivers

8 Things Saving My Life Right Now by Tsh Oxenreider

The Creative Life: Insights for INTP’s, ENTPs, & ENFP’s  by Dr. AJ Drench

What the View of Delft and the Shepherds at Night Teach me About Watching by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

“Nothing is quite what it seems. It takes time and love to make this painting beautiful, just as it takes time and love to make life beautiful.” -Lord Ferguson Wilbert

Pinterest Picks

Instagram Inspiration

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The amount of water you consume plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body. Water helps keep the body hydrated, aids in weight loss and detoxifies the body. Try adding Lemon, Spearmint, Grapefruit, Lime or Peppermint essential oils to a glass water cup for added benefits: • Lemon naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion* • Spearmint promotes digestion and helps reduce occasional stomach upset* • Grapefruit supports healthy metabolism* • Lime supports healthy immune function* • Peppermint promotes healthy respiratory function and digestive health* ——— *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ——— #newyeargoals #water #essentialoils

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Journey to Gentleness 2017

“Blessed are the ears that eagerly listen for the breath of the divine whisper; and do not pay attention to the many whisperings of the world.” -Thomas A Kempis

Gentleness begins within; receiving truth instead of lies, listening for God’s voice of love instead of  a voice of rejection that tells us we are never good enough and there is always something missing. Because the truth is we are made whole in Him.

On my journey to gentleness in 2017 I am focusing on the following actions. I thought I might share them with you.

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2017 Journey to Gentleness

  1. Read books and poems with truthful hopeful themes.
  2. Soak in scripture.
  3. Listen for His whisper.
  4. Seek to nourish my soul with peace.
  5. Be still in His presence.
  6. Let life give way to smallness and surrender and serving  as deep calls to deep even in our daily work.

I am wrapping up this mini-series Clothe Yourself with Gentleness with today’s post. I have loved where this creative process has taken me.

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In wrapping up the series, I am shifting perspective to peace. Peace is my word for 2017. Just something I may study about or take more notice of this year.

Upcoming Newsletter

In the next day or two I will be working on my latest newsletter that I send out over email. It includes new content like a behind the scenes look at what I have been up to or what I am loving lately. You can sign up by clicking the link below.

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Weekend Care Package

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Links I Love

A Gentle Way to Review Your Life by Emily Freeman

A Note for January 1 by Abi Spencer

15 Books for New Routines and Fresh Starts by Anne Bogel

Word of the Year by me

Instagram Inspiration

@_shelflife

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNy719AgMXv/

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I know I haven't really told you what #chasingslow is about yet. You knew I was writing a book, and you knew I finished it, and you know it's being printed and published and sent out into the big world in less than two(!!!) weeks. You know the who and the why and the where and the when, but I haven't told you the what because I've been a little scared. This was a hard book to write. There's a brain tumor and panic attacks, a slew of failures, hypocrisy, tension. There's a breakdown and a tune-up, a cross-country u-haul and a career u-turn. There's spilled rice and public criticism. Broken bowls, broken hearts. Manicures and merry-go-rounds and a big apple offered in the Big Apple. Advice left unfollowed. Buried feelings, a buried father. Marriage. Motherhood. Personhood. A life's work, the work of life. It's all in there, every bit. Joy and shame, love and doubt. Yes. This was a hard book to write. And it's here, and I'm ever proud of it, and I'm so humbled by this great, great opportunity to share it with you. Because yes, it is my story, but I have a funny feeling it might also be a little bit yours, too. Link in profile. Pre-order for a few freebies, if you'd like. I'll be here, thanking you for it all.

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Pinterest Picks

Word of the Year

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an unusually warm Christmas Day walk 2016

I’m thankful 2016 is near end.

2016 with the chaos of continuing to live while most of our stuff was packed up in boxes for nine months.

Demolitions for days, dumpsters full of molded insulation and pulled up carpet.

I have a tendency to be like an orchid, a flower which is sensitive to conditions and requires things “just so” to thrive. And this year the routines and normal conditions were thrown to wind, and a stretching/growing time began. We uprooted. We moved twice. We remodeled. Jeff may have worked almost every weekend and too many week nights after he came home from his full time job.

My friend, Marian, had a year similar in which she describes with a sense of humor I love as “The Year I Almost Died. Not really. But in retrospect it sort of feels like it.”

“Last year was hard. I’m not gonna lie. Not in the way that cancer or real tragedy or chronic illness is hard. Not even close. It was a trip to Disneyworld compared to those things. Just hard in a very unsettled, very chaotic, so-much-stress-for-so-long sort of way. I never did get my bearings.”- Marian Vischer

At many weary moments I faltered; whether in my attitude or in daily disciplines like eating healthy and exercising. I never did get my bearings either.

Still I was thankful knowing it was miraculous provision that birthed this time of challenge.

Jeff’s house sold. He has dreamed of building a home for as long as I have known him. He has also dreamed of owning rental homes. In just a few short months after his house sold, we acquired two rental homes. Out of the blue one day we received a phone call, and were offered an amazing deal on a home to renovate. This home was in the school district we wanted for Oliver, who will start pre-k next Fall.

Also, in the Spring I was chosen to be mentored by my favorite author for 5-6 weeks. She gave me so much encouragement towards my creative hopes and dreams; like painting and writing. I felt very loved by God.

So yes, it’s been a year of beginning to realize dreams and working towards hopeful things. But I have been frazzled and life felt a little out of control too. I have had to surrender to the process.

I surrendered to moving twice in 9 months. I surrendered to Jeff taking on another HUGE project right when we thought we were done. I surrendered to the feeling of incompetence while learning to share my writing on this blog.

I have surrendered to this season- hoping the rhythms of God’s grace might also lead to rest,renewal, or growth eventually.

My sister-in-law Ashley wrote down this scripture for me as a reminder to keep the end in sight;

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

Being honest, I had really hoped we would be in our home for Thanksgiving, or at least Christmas. We actually ended up moving from my parents house to my in-laws the weekend before Christmas, so my parents would have room for my brothers visiting for the holidays.

Yesterday, I went with my mom and we got our nails done. I picked a soft gray color. It seemed soothing. In all of my anxiousness lately, I have craved the calm. I looked at the name of the nail polish; “Go with the Flowy”. I kind of laughed to myself. That may have been the biggest lesson of the year. Learning how to be gentle with myself during times of transition. Learning how to persevere through weariness. Learning how surrender and perseverance intertwine together.

Finding a peace that God offers through it all.

I just finished reading the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. Is it a coincidence that part of the book is about her time living with her in-laws while she remodeled a home? probably not. God has always used books as a timely way to speak to me and encourage me.

So much of this imperfect year taught me that in going with the flow and not giving up, I need a perspective that leads my soul to peace.

In Erin’s book I love two specific analogies that bring me a God kind of peace; one about “patching with gold”-kintsugi.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know the first mini-series I ever wrote was titled “Gentleness is Golden.”  When I came to Erin’s chapter about Kintsugi, it felt very personal to me. It is such a beautiful example of how gentleness is golden.

“Kintsugi means “to patch with gold; in this technique, the potter mends a bowl in delicate sweeping strokes, taking no care to hide the crack. There are no clear coats, there is no blending, there is no attempt at concealing what has occurred. Instead, the crack is illuminated with gold, with respect, with observance.

And then it is pieced together-not to be made new but to be changed.

The break itself is the beauty.

The crack is worthy of gold.” – Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner

This year did not look how I expected. But I can try to find the beauty of what I learned and memories I have gained. I patch the cracks with gold.

I was telling my friend about Kintsugi, and you know what she got me for Christmas? A Kintsugi key chain for the key to our newly renovated home. I can remember this difficult year as something also beautiful and good.

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Another analogy in the book was one about an olive branch. This felt personal to me because I have a son named Oliver.;

“The name Oliver comes from the English origin. In English The meaning of the name Oliver is: The olive tree. The biblical olive tree symbolizes fruitfulness and beauty and dignity. ‘Extending an olive branch’ signifies an offer of peace.”

In fact my husband’s name Jeff means “God peace” too.  When I named my son Jeffrey Oliver Hirshburg, my younger brother mentioned that it kind of represented a “double portion of peace.” Lord knows I need that.

Anyway,here is an olive branch quote from the book Chasing Slow that I want to remember always;

“I believe that had I stopped searching for a fig leaf, I would have instead found an olive branch. I believe I would have discovered the peace that comes only after you throw up your hands, throw in the towel, and say, “God? Please help”… –Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner

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a painting I did once of an olive branch

Like many other bloggers and friends of mine, I chose a word for my year. Last year my word for the year was “intimacy”. In this case, it was what I was hoping for; I was hoping to grow even closer to God. To hear and know His voice in such an intimate way.

And you know what happened? It was just like what Erin describes in her book; I had to remove the “fig” leaf”.  The leaf that hides my inadequacies or claims independence and competence. And maybe it took the whole year of coming to the end of my rope, being so weary and done with this whole moving and remodeling thing. I finally threw my hands up in the air, and said Lord please help me, this is really hard. It may be easy for others, but God, this has been hard for both Jeff and I. And maybe in that honesty I became closer to God, and found peace hidden in honesty.

Which is why for 2017 my word of the year is peace.

“I can choose the world’s fig leaves to cover my stretch marks, dark circles, battle scars. Or I can choose to accept my less-ness and reach for more; more grace, more gentleness, more peace. I can surrender the fig leaves. I can lay down the cloak. I can remove the mask. And I can choose to look above, naked and trembling, searching the denim sky for an olive branch to grasp and carry and keep.Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner

In 2017 my hope is to remember to lay down the fig leaf and keep searching the denim sky “for an olive branch to grasp and carry and keep.”

In 2017 I want to cherish the peace I have in being hidden in God’s love and understanding, even when I am completely vulnerable and honest before Him.

Weekend Care Package

Well, we’ve made it to Friday. And though I don’t know what your current circumstances are or what you are facing-overwhelm, grief, joy, anticipation, a mixture of all maybe- I am thinking of you, and offering my simple presence by means of this little blog.

As always, in the weekend care package I will be sharing links I love and some Instagram Inspiration.

Links I Love

The Wrestle and the Recovery by Abi Spencer

“I must say that being ‘saved’ by Him has not been a one time occurrence in my life. I have desperately needed to be rescued from myself time after time. But, I have seen Him, felt Him break into my story and rescue me….save me. I have lived it. He rescues me. And once again, I am taken away at how He has rescued me.” -Abi Spencer

Why Did This Happen God? by Lysa TerKeurst

“I like to call this verse, “Directions on Where to Park My Mind.”

And that’s exactly what Ashley had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I had to help her say:

This is my reality. Now what am I going to do with it?” -Lysa TerKeurst

This is What I Know For Sure by Aliza Latta

“So I focus on the facts I do know: my nephew Noah turning one soon, the Christmas lights keeping me warm, reading books on love and spiritual discipline, painting on ornaments and bread bowls, and remembering that Jesus is coming soon.” -Aliza Latta

You Said You Need More of This Than Anything by Emily Freeman

“Sometimes it comes looking like the shocked face of a tragedy and other times it just looks like low-grade anxiety of a Tuesday. But the disruption of peace always seems to come in one way or another.

And yet, Isaiah 11 says there will come a day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

While tragedy erupts unwelcome into our lives without warning or invitation, hope for peace leaves hints and signs and evidence along the way.

God gives a hopeful vision for the future before it comes to be.” -Emily Freeman

The Cliff  by Erin Loechner @ designformankind.com

“Last week, after a grueling season of deadlines and demands, of busyness and sleeplessness, of a teething baby and a launching book, Ken and I declare a Time Out.

Picnic? I ask.” – Erin Loechner

Time Travelers by Erin K Etheridge

Erin writes about a sweet moment, that I relate to-drifting through time while looking at or listening to a child or a loved one.

Coffee Date #7 by Erin Salmon

I love coffee dates with friends. And though I don’t know Erin, her questions for this coffee date are great. I might ask them too if I were to sit with down with you today.

Tea Time: Finding Peace in Shared Ritual by Noel Miller @ hello dearest.org

Soothing and with pretty photos.

The Best Books of 2016 by Myquillen Smith @ thenester.com

Book recommendations from a blogger and author I follow and enjoy.

My Favorite Books of 2016  by Kimberly Coyle

And more book recommendations; because it’s fun to share these.

Christmas Tour of Homes and A Call to Action for Cozy Minimalists by Myquillen Smith

Instagram Inspiration

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Old painting. New pattern

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Stay warm out there, folks.

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On the Blog

From this week; What to Wear; Clothe Yourself with Gentleness

Weekend Care Package

“Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worry on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street”

-song lyrics, the sunny side of the street

Links I Love

Honesty: When the Wrestle Ain’t Over  by Abi Booth

“So, here I sit, the girl in the wrestle. Don’t have the exact language for it yet, looking forward to the other side, but refusing to jump ship because conflict is uncomfortable.” -Abi Spencer

The Most Unwelcome Guest at Christmas by Emily Freeman

A post on being gentle with ourselves.

God of All Comfort by Kara Pyo

Kara writes and captures photos with an artistic gentleness, beauty, and joy that is uniquely her own. I love it!

Accepted by Carolyn Watts

Favorite Christmas House Tours from Around the Internet by Emily Jones

The links are fun, but I really loved this post because I relate to the house renovation struggles! Maybe you are in a season like this too.

“There may have been a mild meltdown last weekend. I might possibly have too lofty expectations. It’s a struggle to live in the midst of chaos and feel constrained by budget and time and surely that struggle is not just felt by me. It is just part of moving and of house renovation and we fully welcomed it all. Now if I could learn to chill out and enjoy the process …”

Instagram Inspiration

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNmsmUDh5Lx/?taken-by=riflepaperco

@riflepaperco

Little Women is one of those movies I love watching around the holidays. My book is packed away in boxes until we move into the home we are currently remodeling. I may have to reread Little Women come January when we are all moved in. And the knitting seems like a great Winter hobby.

@cordeliaann

Cordelia is on the Chasing Slow book launch team with me. Don’t you love that name?! I do! I should be getting an advanced copy of Erin Loechner’s book any day now.

Cordelia’s Instagram post reminds me of a book I’m reading about Gentleness. There is a section that discusses how it begins with being still and listening for the whispers of God’s voice.

@karapyo

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For the Littles

Free Personalize Santa Video Messages  I created one for Oliver, and his eye were so wide while watching. He turned to me at the end and said “Mommy, Santa is so nice.”

On the Blog

Top 10 Book List 2016

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Christmas Posts

Seashells for Advent

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All is Calm, All is Bright

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A Swaddle Blanket, A Baby, & Advent; Clothe Yourself with Gentleness

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2016 Top 10 Book List

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Last December I shared a list of my favorite books read in 2015. Now, here’s my list for 2016 including an Amazon description, and the reasons I chose the book.

Roots & Sky by Christy Purifoy

Amazon description: “In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst–from summer’s intense heat and autumn’s glorious canopy through winter’s still whispers and spring’s gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.”

Why I chose this book: It’s been a year of building a home, moving homes and remodeling homes for us. I relate to that part of Christie’s story. It was encouraging with beautiful writing.

Looking for Lovely  by Annie Downs

Amazon description:” In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.”

Why I chose this book: Both fun and deep- it was just the lift I needed this Summer. A glimpse at some of the chapter names may explain why I liked it too ; Sunrise, The Sound of Music, Monet’s House, Nail Polish, Sushi, and Gardens. Annie writes a lot about persevering in this book, and that is something I want to get better at.

Walking on Water; Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle

Amazon description: “Addressing the subject of “faith and art” head on, this masterful work examines the difference between Christian art and secular art, as well as the relationship between the two. Award-winning artist L’Engle exhorts artists to listen to, remain aware of, and to respond to creation through one’s own art.”

Why I chose this book: It addresses two of my favorite topics- art and faith. I highlighted so much. L’Engle even discusses her love of Lucy Maud’s book Emily of New Moon, which I adore.  Her words inspired me to continue creating, and made me feel not so alone in experiencing certain aspects of creativity and writing.

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Amazon description: “Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.”

Why I chose this book: I really soaked up Shauna’s words about gentleness- towards ourself and in our faith. Her storytelling talent is another reason I like this book. She lets us in on the big picture of her journey and yet also gives us glimpses of her everyday life, what a gift.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Amazon description: “From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”

“Doerr’s ‘stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors’ (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling”.

Why I chose this book: As stated in the description I loved the “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors”! Parts of the story are a little dark for me, but overall I was moved. I liked learning about the time period too.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

Amazon description: “From the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Keeper comes a “moody, suspenseful page-turner” (People, Best Book Pick) filled with mystery and spellbinding secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.”

Why I chose this book: I like how one of the characters is a writer, and how the storyline kept me curious throughout the book. Morton has a way with words. Though jumping back and forth in time is a little jolting for me as a reader, I still enjoyed this book, especially for a Summer read.

Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen

Amazon description: “Led by the writing of beloved, bestselling author Henri Nouwen (With Open Hands, Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New), the authors of Spiritual Direction, return with the second work in this popular spirituality series on how to live out the five classical stages of spiritual development.”

Why I chose this book: I like how beautifully Nouwen explains his faith. There is a chapter about transparency and opaqueness and it reminds me of the way I love soft colors and watercolors, and the way God personally speaks to me through that quality. His writing is so poetic. Some of his views in the book I may differ from, but I still found much inspiration, truth, and beauty too. I also loved the incorporation of Van Gogh paintings in the book.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Amazon description: “With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

Why I chose this book: Loved the beautiful writing and engaging story kept me wanting to find out what would happen next, and the relationship dynamic with the characters drew me in too. Again, like in All the Light We Cannot See, I loved learning about the historical time period and different places.

The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris

Amazon description: The bestselling author of The Cloister Walk reflects on the sanctifying possibilities of everyday work and how God is present in worship and liturgy as well as in ordinary life. Definitely not “for women only.”

Why I chose this book: I cherish the short book because the author offers a beautiful perspective to approach the dailiness of life that often weighs us down. She is honest about depression too, something I struggle with on and off.

Still Life by Louise Penny

Amazon description: “Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.”

Why I chose this book: Sometimes I like a good mystery book. The characters were unique, the setting was cozy, and there was grace throughout the storyline. The plot revolves around a painting, and I love art! CS Lewis’s book  Surprised by Joy is referenced in the book too- loved that.

Well, there’s my Top 10 Book list for 2016!

Hope you find it helpful. Cheers to new books in 2017.

Also,  click  here for a look at last year’s list.

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