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What’s on your nightstand? Oct ‘12

So far, I’m still sticking to my Fall reading list. I’ve added one new book not on my original list, but I left room for three, so all is well.

Since I’m in 31 Days of Grace, here’s how I’m finding grace on my nightstand.

Just started

Evolving-in-Monkey-TownEvolving in Monkey Town
   How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
by Rachel Held Evans

Because Rachel has a new book coming out shortly that I want to read, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and she’s already getting slammed by some who’ve read it (and some who haven’t—where’s the grace in that? I’m reminded of the Rob Bell brouhaha), I want to see for myself where she’s coming from by reading her first book. Learning people’s backstory is often a helpful prerequisite to extending grace, yes?

   The Gift Nobody Wants
by Paul Brand, Philip Yancey

How can there be grace in pain? Dr. Paul Brand writing about his work with lepers—they lose sensations of pain—is fascinating. A re-read. And well worth the time again.


A-Womans-Right-to-RestA Woman’s Right to Rest
   Fourteen Types of Biblical Rest that Can Transform Your Life

by Denise George

Rest is one of our most tangible gifts of God’s grace. This book helps you understand how to receive and practice it.

I am convinced that women today have not been taught, nor do they understand, the biblical principles of rest. They have somehow bought into the false belief that, for the Christian woman, rest is selfish and unscriptural.

The-Twisted-ScripturesThe Twisted Scriptures
by W. Carl Ketcherside

Ketcherside wants to untwist some scriptures that tie people in knots. So far I detect a great desire to show grace to those who hold different opinions on gray matters.

Unity is not conformity but community. ...Being human, there is only one type of unity possible for us, and that is unity in diversity. If we do not accept this form of unity there is no other for us. We are not one in opinion, but one in Christ Jesus.

Still reading

clip_image003Unshakeable Faith
   8 Traits for Rock-Solid Living

by Kathy Howard

While all the apostles were shown amazing grace, we often celebrate the grace shown to Peter the most. This book journeys through eight traits of Peter’s faith that we’d be wise to imitate. We’re studying this book together for our fall study at Do Not Depart.


   Book 1
by Veronica Roth

A Hunger Games-type book. A gripping novel that I couldn’t put down. (Insurgent is Book 2; I’m holding off checking it out until I know I can spend dedicated time reading.) It’s usually easy to find grace play an important role in these dystopian novels; no exception here.

clip_image002The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

Excellently told story! It revolves as much around Henrietta Lacks’ daughter as Henrietta Lacks herself, the cancer victim whose cells have been used prolifically for over 60 years. It also testifies to the incredible gift of dedication from author Rebecca Skloot to get this story told accurately and honorably.

More than We Deserve, Greater than We Imagine
by Max Lucado

The whole book is about grace, in typically beautiful Lucado style. Bible stories; personal anecdotes; heart-warming stories; quotable, truth-filled sound bites.

More verb than noun, more present tense than past tense, grace didn’t just happen; it happens. Grace happens here. The same work God did through Christ long ago on a cross is the work God does through Christ right now in you. Let him do his work. Let grace trump your arrest record, critics, and guilty conscience.

clip_image004I’m Still Your Mother
   How to Get Along with Your Grown-Up Children for the Rest of Your Life

by Dr. Jane Adams

What I was reminded of is that our grown children need our support, not our regret. Give yourself grace for past parenting fumbles, and concentrate on being the best ally you can be now.

Instead of talking and telling, listen and question; rather than direct them in how you would do it, coach them to come up with strategies of their own devising. Be brief and not longwinded, back off if they tell you to or if you’re repeating yourself, and avoid after-the-fact criticisms.

clip_image005Tell to Win
   Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
by Peter Guber

An eclectic assortment of stories about “story” from an executive in the entertainment industry. One of the tidbits: be present. When it really matters, do what you can to be in the same room with those you’re talking to.

clip_image006If You Want to Write
   A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit

by Brenda Ueland

Another eclectic gathering of advice, in this one about writing and loving and living. I didn’t always agree, but did find a grain of truth in most everything. For example (and you will have to work past the secular worldview here to find the nugget of “listen to others!”):

“...the only way to love a person is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them.”

Do-the-WorkDo the Work
by Steven Pressfield

This short book is to inspire you to stop overthinking and start doing. Although not written from a Christian perspective, it’s filled with examples of extending grace to yourself to get things done. For example, is there not great spiritual truth in this statement?

The deeper the source we work from, the better our stuff will be—and the more transformative it will be for us and for those we share it with.

   Sharing Jesus with a Consumer Culture
by Tim Sinclair

I admit I didn’t have high expectations for this book (why? I don’t know), but it was actually very good. Toward the back of the book, Sinclair puts twenty-two “what if” questions on the whiteboard for our consideration, ideas that might reach a disconnected world in a way that our current church system is not. Here are some examples (note: I’m reducing several pages into one paragraph):

What if we spent a week with our family in Honduras or Haiti instead of Orlando or the Ozarks? What if we adopted a no-health-related-prayer-requests rule for a time? What if we started Grubby Sunday at church? What if we were intentional about befriending those people many Christians consider unlovely? What if we sold our church’s building? What if we regularly met with atheists, agnostics, and people of non-Christian religions with the sole purpose of having them share their faith with us? What if we had to do all the listening?

Organized-SimplicityOrganized Simplicity
   The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

by Tsh Oxenreider

This book is a great blend of theory and how-to. It comes at a perfect time for me as I’m adjusting my house (and mind) to an empty nest after twenty years of homeschooling. Oxenreider’s encouragement to create a family mission statement is just as important as her practical tips for cleaning up clutter.

Simple living is a state of mind. It’s a choice to not let the consumer-driven culture dictate how you live, what you invest in, and how you spend your valuable resources.

Sarahs-KeySarah’s Key
by Tatiana de Rosnay

This novel made me cry, both at the horrendous events and at the grace among them. It blended so perfectly a story from 1942 Nazi rule in Paris with a modern story sixty years later. The excellence with which de Rosnay writes is beautiful in itself, but the story is one that would tug at any heart. It’s been weeks since I read it but it still is holding on to me.

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What book have you read lately?


Day 23 of . . .



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