December 28, 2016

Ermagherd... Berks! An Annual What I Read post for 2016

Hey y'all... Here we are near the end of 2016 and, well, you know how I love me some books... (or 'berks!')

So now is the time to reflect back over the year and revisit some of my favorite reads! I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for a special Five Minute Friday link up on BERKS!!! 

Here is a random list of books I read and loved this year! I feel like I slowed down a bit in all the reading this year... growing a (church) family took priority over both blogging and reading a bit more in 2016 but there were still some amazing words that were devoured!

Here are just some of my favorites, in no particular order because you all KNOW how I can not pick a favorite!

We will start, however, with my TOP FIVE READS:

1. A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker

This book should be required reading for anyone involved in ministry (which, by the way, is all of us!) 

It's so much more than just Kingdom vs. Religion. It's filled with actual how-to's and tips on how to deepen your walk and actually live out your calling! 

Brandon is the real deal. He is a straight shooter and as much as I stalk love his wife, I had to break it to my Honey that I was falling for Brandon, too! This Hatmaker team together? World changers! And this book? It's a Game Changer!

In a world and culture that is constantly preaching how we need to be building a platform and growing a following, Brandon reminds us that the Kingdom is all about fighting for the bottom and lovingly serving and lifting others up.  He reminds us that Jesus was never after fans... He wanted followers and He calls us to follow after Him. To follow His lead and to walk in His footsteps. 

For a full Book review, click here

2. Who Does He Say You Are? by Colleen Mitchell

You guys... I can't even with all the love I have for this book and for its' author! I was sent an advanced digital copy of this book and until I hold a real paper version, I won't remember exactly how much I adored this read... but I can promise you it was A LOT! I found myself reading several chapters over and over and one of the things that I loved MOST about this book is that it includes actual, real life, Bible reading. Colleen encourages her reader right at the start that she is hoping you will read the stories of each chapter in your own Bible/favorite version.  Her desire is that you will read the stories again and again as you work through the book.  It also gives a little Who Does He Say You Are section for further reflection and a Let Us Pray section at the end of each chapter to pray (not just read, she emphasizes.) 

...And so, of course, you can see how I adore her... and the deep, powerful, truths that speak to who you are, how He sees you, and who He created you to be! 

3. The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Reading this book stirred up my happy, gave me tips on how to best refill it, and reminded me of a truth that the Lord whispered to me last year when I was under Nebraskan skies at Jumping Tandem.  

He told me, "...the way I made you is Joy, but it is not shallow! Do not believe that lie. You are meant to be contagious... You are meant to be love... to be joy... to be you."

My natural bent is one of joy... one of laughter... one of looking at the positive and calling out the gold.  It wasn't always that way but decades ago, He changed me. 

In this world that is full of sadness, darkness brooding, --full of violence and injustice and broken hearts... feeling happy can feel wrong.  It can feel shallow or too Pollyanna. 

I love that in this book, Jennifer acknowledges that and makes room for that truth. She doesn't tell us to put our head in the sand or to put a band aid on everything and move along. But she does remind us that even on our darkest days... we can choose to run to the Light.

For a full Book review, click here

4. Looking For Lovely by Annie F. Downs

Annie is kindred.  She is one of those blessings who make you feel like you are BFFs even if you haven't (yet) met in real life! It's because she is real... brave (even if not all the time)... she is the kind of friend who makes you want to be better more you... --the kind of friend who makes you want to be more alive, more full of joy, more full of adventure, and more full of --well, Him! 

Annie and I --well, we haven't met face to face (yet.) But heart to heart, we are sisters.  She is may be louder to my quiet... I am may be introverted to her extrovert ways... but spirit to spirit... well - what you will find in her new book, Looking For Lovely, is that she and I? We are former quitters... and we are determined to be more than just finishers, but to also finish well!

Reading Looking For Lovely is a rare glimpse into a life willingly laid open... it's not polished and reflecting from the other side of the brokenness, but it's a real look right in to the lovely mending... not stuck in the middle but not completely yet on the wholly healed side either.

It gives hope and light... it reminds us of what we know and points us back to Who we love.

For a full Book review, click here

5. Rhythms of Rest  by Shelly Miller

When I heard that Shelly was writing a book on Sabbath I though, "Of course!" and "Thank God!"

This message and this book has my heart! Rhythms of Rest is a book about Sabbath Rest and Self Care, yes... but it holds so much more than an ideal or even ideas. It offers within it room to breathe and to slow. It comes with an invitation to be willing to let go and unwind, to trust, to seek and to find!

It offers a bit of quiet wisdom that refuses to rush about or shout over the chaos. It will wait, but you won't want to put it off once you begin to dive in to its' pages and oh my goodness, how you will find what your soul truly needs and what your body is begging for!

God has been speaking to me about Rest and Self Care for a few years and reading Shellys' own journey of learning how to practice Sabbath gives grace to try it in a way that is not bossy or ill-fitting! This book will both teach and remind you, because in this fast paced world, even when we KNOW a thing, we don't always remember to live it out! 

Now... on to the other books I loved!

6. Create vs. Copy by Ken Wytsma

This is not just another book about creativity that (...wait for it...) copies what everyone else says! 

Ken is bold enough to dig in and come up with a new twist by taking us deeper. He points out that artistic ability is a talent that some people have, but creativity is a human trait because we are created in His image.

He divided the book into two parts: Thinking about Creativity and Practicing Creativity and at the end of each chapter he offers ways to dig deeper with 'For further study...'  and 'Questions for Group, Team or Individual Reflection' options! Seriously - the resources that come with this book are amazing!

It will make you want to read... and then go DO stuff... 

For a full Book review, click here

7. Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

I 'met' Logan online before I met her in real life at Allume. She is one of the most genuine, authentic people I've ever met and she makes you want to live that kind of life!

Reading Curious Faith is like enjoying a slow meal with a close friend, with only a table between you.

Logan writes the way she talks, with all of that Southern charm and laugh out loud honesty. But don't be fooled... she can make you cry with the best of them, too! 

Her candid style of telling it like it is when it comes to living out a faith that has learned to embrace a bit of the unknown, that is bold enough to doubt, and brave enough to hold on when all you want to do it let go and give up --well, reading her journey just may enable you to live out yours with a little less fear, and a bit more freedom! 

For a full Book review, click here

8. Kisses from A Good God by Paul Manwaring

This was on the required reading list for a year long class that My Honey and I took this year and oh my goodness, I am so glad that it was! The subtitle to this book is A Journey Through Cancer and this book is all about how in the midst of seemingly losing his life and his health, Paul discovered just how good our God is!  Paul has been part of the Bethel team and addresses in this book the power of shame as well. Having been saturated in a culture that believes and see supernatural healings, his came about through doctors and surgeries and treatment... this is an honest, powerful testimony on the goodness of God --even in the darkest of nights.

9. What On Earth Is Glory also by Paul Manwaring

This was another book on our required reading by Paul Manwaring.  This book offers a practical approach to a glory-filled life, and who doesn't want that, right? Paul talks in this book about how Heaven is not just a future destination but it is also a present reality.  He explains that the definition that we give to Glory determines where we will expect to encounter it! He walks us through many stories in the Bible, as well as personal stories from his life.  This book will stir you up and encourage you to want more... more Glory and more God, in your every day life!

10. Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy

This is such a lovely read... the subtitle is "A Journey Home in Four Seasons" and my plan when first holding it in my hand was to read slowly, through each season... but once I started this poetic, stirring offering on Home and all that it means... I couldn't stop or wait for the skies to change or the temperatures to drop! You won't want to stop reading either!

11. Translating God by Shawn Boltz

The subtitle to this book is: "Hearing God's Voice for Yourself and the World Around You."  Um... yes, please!  For those of you who don't know Shawn Boltz, let me just say this: This guy hears from God.  Like, strange, specific, weird clues that are very exact and can only be for one person... as soon as that person stands up and steps forward and confirms that the clues all point to them, God continues to pour out words of prophesy, words of knowledge and wisdom, and words of encouragement in powerful ways!  We have been in the room when Shawn is ministering and it truly is a thing to behold! 

(Side note: Bethel has a new eCourse online in January with Shawn, going through this book! For more info, click here.)

12. Five Minute Friday (A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat) Compiled by Susan Shipe 

What an honor to be part of this compilation book... a collection of various Five Minute Friday posts from our favorite online tribe of writers! 

For more info, go hereAll proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The Vine School and Take Action in South Africa.

13. Falling Free by Shannan Martin 

Reading Shannan is like eating chips and salsa (#yourewelcome!) and you can't just eat a few at a time! Before you know it, you have devoured it and are ready for a second plate --or, read through, whatever! You see what I'm trying to do with the metaphor. When I found out that Shannan Martin was writing a book called Falling Free,
I was all, because of course!

Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin is exactly what you hope it would be!

It is both inspiring and convicting. 

It is both hopeful and heartbreaking.

It is real... honest... raw... 

It is exactly what we have come to love about Shannan and how she just can't help herself but to not hide... to not mask or pretend. With Shannan, what you get is what you see and that is exactly what God was banking on!

For a full Book review, click here

14. Fast Talk and Faith A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls by Mary Carver

Seriously --SO MUCH FUN! I expected that part... but also so powerful and insightful and encouraging!

For a full Book review, click here

And my stack of Currently Reading is:
The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
Telling the Truth by Frederick Buechner
Story by  Steven James
Distant Lights (Poems Along the Way) by Marie Gregg
Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie
The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford
Life Creative by Wendy Speake
Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton

I know? I remember saying last year that I needed to make room in my life for more fiction! So hit me up with a few great fiction reads... I need light and happy... there is enough heavy and hard in the world right now!

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the #fmfparty Community today, talking about our favorite BOOKS from 2016.  Click HERE to read more Books I Read posts for this special edition of Five Minute Friday. 
The FMF lowdown: The gathering happens on Twitter on Thursday nights & then we write our hearts out & hit publish all over the interwebs on Thursday & Friday (& sometimes on Tuesdays!) It's where we encourage & uplift... where we share prayer requests & praise reports... where we talk food & friends & we find support & kindred hearts. It's where we are reminded that life is good & God is good & we're not alone... & then we all write for five minutes flat, a flash mob of wordsmiths letting our hearts & our fingers do the talking tapping & we hit publish before we can second guess it all away. We'd love to have you join us!

I'm also linking up with the lovely writer community linked below:




So - what did you read this year that really stuck with you or spoke to you? I'd love to hear, because --you know, I {heart} BERKS!!! 


  1. Wow, you were busy in 2016, friend! Great job reading all those books. Loved your post! There's a few I desire to add to my library. May God bless you in the new year, Karrilee!

    1. LOL!? I know, right? No wonder I am tired! I could have sworn I slowed down on the reading this year but it sure doesn't look like it! Praying for you in this New Year, as well, Julie!

  2. So many good books! I enjoyed reading books from the Cousins of the Dove series this year. They are written by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould. The first two books are out, and the third one will be coming out in 2017.

    Mindy Starns Clark is one of my favorite fiction writers. I especially enjoyed her Million Dollar Mystery series. I read that one twice! And I rarely read books twice!

    1. Ooooh thank you for the book recommendations! I'm needing to go get a new library card but I will add these to my list! xoxo

  3. Looking for Lovely is one of my favorites of the year, also. You reminded me that I never ordered the Five Minute Friday book. So, I took care of that right away. It will be my fun mail next week. Thank you for sharing this list, Karrilee! -Jolene

    1. Who doesn't just adore Annie, right? She's like everyones best friend! Praying for you as this New Year unfolds, my friend!

  4. Love your list. How on earth did you have time to build a church? ;)

    1. Right? This explains maybe why I am so tired? ;) Good thing is we are not interested in building a church --but in building people... and these books? All --great resources! ;)

  5. TY for mentioning Fear Fighting. Happy to be on this page with you!

    1. Thank YOU for letting me be on your Launch Team... digging in a bit more over the next couple of days but I am loving it already! xoxo

  6. A lot of the same books on our shelves! Annie, Shannan, Colleen etc! Oh and of course, oh how I love Colleen too. I need to add some on your shelf onto mine too. I love Buechner so that might have to be one of my first adds. You need to read Big Magic. It's totally a creatives book. Love you!

    1. Oh yes... no surprise at all! And yes - I need to add Big Magic to my list this year!

  7. Such a great list. I failed to read at all this year. I have a goal to read in 2017. Now, I need to make a very long list of everyone else's lists and figure out which one to read first!

  8. There were truly so many good books. I enjoyed seeing your list and now have added to my "to read" list :)

    1. (Sorry, not sorry?) ;) I have added a few to my ever-growing list as well! Happy New Year, my friend!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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