December 22, 2017

Ermagherd... Berks!!! An annual post about the Books I Read in 2017

Hey Sweet Readers! 

Here we are near the end of 2017 and even though this year was hard and threw some serious curve balls and knocked me off my reading game, you know how I love me some books... (or 'berks!' as in, "Ermagherd! Berks!")

So this is the post where I take time to reflect back over the year and revisit some of my favorite reads! 

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 again this year, and then there was all the days and weeks in hospitals and with family and friends both in recovering and in grieving.

Still... 2017 offered up a FEAST in words...
Here are a handful that stayed with me!

1. Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie

This book is a must read.

Listen... I kicked Fear out a long, long time ago and he hasn't been allowed to boss me around for ages. However, he is oh so sneaky and he just tries, again and again, to move in unnoticed and set up camp like he owns the place! This book is full of life and light and hope and freedom! I highly recommend it!

For more info, check out Kellys' Guest Post on the blog by clicking here

2. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

This was not a 'new' book in 2017 but it was a new to me book and, you guys... I can't even with all the love I have for this one! I mean... it's all about prayer and faith and declarations and lining up our expectations and oh my goodness, it is full of testimonies of answered prayers! We loved it so much, we gave copies away hand over fist because who couldn't use encouragement in our prayer life and how it really does work and He really is listening?

"...most of us give up. We stop praying because we can't see any tangible difference with our natural eyes. We allow our circumstances to get between God and us instead of putting God between us and our circumstances." The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson
For more info, click here

3. Most Ardently by Kenna Rylen

This is a gorgeous, romantic collection of poetry inspired by the works of Jane Austen.  It's in ebook form on Amazon and let me help you out: Valentine's Day is just around the corner! You're welcome!

For more info, click here

4. Change Your Home, Change Your Life by Moll Anderson

This book is so full of color and inspiration, I can't imagine hiding it away on a bookshelf! I have read it from cover to cover and it is powerful and impactful, but even just having it out so I can page through it and drink in the beauty on each page is still feeding my soul! 

If you are an artist in any area of your life... from actual painting or drawing, to photography, to design, to fashion and makeup --this book is a gift and it will stir you up and make you want to be more creative... more adventurous... more (wait for it...) Colorful! 

(And let's talk about those cocktail recipes! Oh my!)

For more info, click here

5. Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

This book is power packed with story and Truth and challenges you (read:me) in all the best ways!  The subtitle to this is: 'How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better'... Yeah. That.

God had begun challenging my husband and I to live this way years ago but we didn't know it was a thing... or if it was even possible... but it is! It IS a thing, and it IS possible! 

This is a MUST READ book for anyone and everyone... It's one I will most likely go back to again and again! (read:whenever I'm tempted to be offended!)

For more info or to purchase, click here.

6. The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create by Allen Arnold

This book is a wonder-filled mix of fiction and non-fiction.  It is a great story told creatively and powerfully and it was so different from anything else I have read in recent years, I fell hard for it! The creativity and power of wonder!

If you want to read a story about Identity in and Intimacy with a God who loves you, --a story that mixes allegory with invitation-- then this is the book for you! (I just may get it out and start reading it again this afternoon!)

For more info, click here

7. The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell 

This book is all kinds of gorgeous! I love the look and feel of it, the recipes and testimonies and stories of how this #frontyardpeople Turquoise Table movement all started! Most of all, I love how Kristin shows us that we can all do this... we can all live out hospitable and be gracious hosts --even outside of our homes. 

This book is a great newlywed gift, or to help celebrate a new home purchase! I have already given it both ways!

For more info, click here

8. Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray

This 40-day Devotional was a breath of fresh, calming air over a summer full of hectic and hard. I loved the combination of scripture, story, prayer, and activation! 

While it took me longer than 40 days to complete it, it helped to recenter me and reminded me of a message of Rest that I often preach, but sometimes forget to practice!

For more info, click here

9. Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement by Incourage

This is also a great Devotional, compiled of posts or devotions by all your favorite InCourage authors.  It is full of great hope and, of course, encouragement --as well as great challenges to help you step out of your comfort zones and create the connections that you crave!

For more info, click here

10. Come Find Me, Sage Parker by Aliza Latta

Seriously... this is Aliza's first novel but you would not think so! I found myself reading the last page and wanting more story.  (Hint, hint! Here's hoping this becomes a series!)

I don't read a lot of fiction, and keep meaning to add more... and I picked this up after some hard and heavy, expecting an escape. However, this story is not light and fluffy.  It is powerfully written and graciously invites us in to some hard and heavy, too... I was tempted to push it aside because I was hoping for light and fluffy, however I am so glad I kept reading! God is sneaky in how he can come to us in unexpected ways! Come Find Me, Sage Parker offered an escape AND a finding. I was in need of both!

For more info, click here. 

11. Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker

Do I really need to say anything here?  If Lisa-Jo writes it, just know that you are going to want to read it. Enough said.

(But you know I'll say a little more...)

I can't recommend this book highly enough! I mean, I knew before I even started it that this would be amazing because, Lisa-Jo!!! But it doesn't matter if you are longing for real, deep, long lasting friendships, or if you feel blessed with an abundance, this book...!!! #Gah!!! It's so good! We were made in His image and He is community and family and love and we are so called to that --to ALL of that! This book will help you be brave and will help you learn how to be a friend... It will heal hurts and old wounds that you maybe didn't even realize you were still guarding or picking at and it will stir up a hunger to not only have these kinds of friendships, but to BE this kind of friend to others!

So whether you are lonely and longing for true friendship, or you think you are nailing it all the time --this book is a must read that will open your eyes, your heart, your hands to real community, and a real belonging!

To order your own copy, click here. 

12. Fiercehearted by Holley Gerth 

This is, in my opinion, Holley's best book to date! I have loved all of her offerings, but this one was a bit more personal... more real... more (if you can imagine!) encouraging and hope-filled and oh my goodness, I think every one should read this book!

The subtitle of this book is 'Live Fully, Love Bravely' and who doesn't want to do that, right? My copy is highlighted and dogeared and underlined everywhere! I'm convinced yours will be too!

To get your own copy, click here. 

13. We Saved You A Seat (Bible Study) by Lisa-Jo Baker

This Bible study was a no-brainer for me because it is based off of Never Unfriended (mentioned above) and the video sessions included some of my friends and favorite Incouragers, sitting around a table, talking about friendship! What's not to love about that?  I hosted a small group through our church and we went through this study and oh my goodness, the women were blessed and challenged... healed and hopeful! I highly recommend this study whether you do it in a living room or at a church or other location! 

For more info, click here


14. Love Big, Be Well by Winn Collier

I have loved reading words crafted by Winn Collier for awhile now, but when I ran across this book and read the premise, I knew it was a gift I needed to give myself. 

Ministry is work... and sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is less hard... hopefully at all times there is love and joy and intention mixed in, too! 

Reading these letters from Pastor to Congregation and getting insight into the everyday living of this church reminded us of why we said yes in the first place to the call of pastoring! What a gift this story is... so full of authenticity, honor, and truth. (Oh... and hope! Let's not forget hope!)

To order your own copy, click here

And my stack of Currently Reading is:

The Dream of You by Jo Saxton
*The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
*The Myth of Equality by Ken Wystma
*One by Deidra Riggs 
The Good and Beautiful Community by James Bryan Smith

*  These are all books I started and stopped several times last year.  I loved each of them as I was reading but as I have mentioned, 2017 was Hard and Heavy. I know that there is truth in each of these works that I need in my life and in my heart, so I am picking them back up and trusting that now is the time for me to read them. (You know -- some books come to you at the wrong time... and you just have to wait until God says it's time now!)

I managed to read a bit more than I thought... but like a broken record, I am stating yet again my desire to add in a bit of fiction in 2018!

(All non-affiliate links used!)

So - what did you read in 2017 that really stuck with you or spoke to you? I'd love to hear, because --you know, I {heart} BERKS!!! 


  1. I need to add some books to my to read pile. I loved the Broken Way!

    1. I need to get back to reading The Broken Way (again!) lol!

  2. I am such a slow reader. I think I read one book a month...if that! I loved Come Find Me Sage Parker. Bawled like a baby at the end. Praying you had a blessed and beautiful Christmas. So much fun being a Nana at that time.

    1. Yes - CFMSP was so good... didn't you want another one? I'm hoping Aliza is working in a sequel!

  3. Such a great list. The Broken Way was one of my all time fave reads! You just can't go wrong with Ann Voskamp. Love you friend!

    1. Love you too! (I'm not sure why your comments keep getting pushed to SPAM... but I will fix that every time!) ;)


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

Blog Archive