My First (Self-help book) Love

Do you remember your first self-help book? 

Mine was How Full is your Bucket? by Tom Rath. 

I read it at the tender age of 13 and it is the reason I love self-help books so much today. 

The book teaches you how it truly is the everyday interactions with those around you that determines how you respond to the good and bad circumstances of life.  

  1. Every positive interaction adds a drop to your bucket. 
  2. Every negative interaction dips (takes away) from your bucket. 

Looking back now, nothing Rath discussed was earth shattering, but it was presented in such a unique way that I was fascinated. 

Plus, Rath had 40+ years of research from Gallup Polls and his stories were mesmerizing. 

Did I mention that he gave readers access to his Strength Finders test?

What about the cool resources to help implement the new information?

This nerdy chick, way back when, fell in love with self-help books and I’m still a bit starry eyed today. 

If you want to wax nostalgic with me, give the book a read (it’s on hold for me at the library).

And if you want me to wax nostalgic with you, let me know the title of your first self-help book. 

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The Giver

The Giver is a wonderful book. It’s a must read for kids and parents alike. 

I remember when it was part of the curriculum for our 5th grade class (at least I think it was 5th grade?).

A few years ago, The Giver was adapted into a movie and it really does the book justice. 

What intrigues me most about the story is how it approaches history and its affect on community. 

A world without color, without memory of the past, is unfathomable to me. 

A world without deep feelings and emotions sounds like a great idea, but it strips us of what it means to be human. 

These are not easy topics for a young adult fiction book to tackle!

Lois Lowry’s ability as an author to talk about tough, complex issues in a way that kids can understand amazes me. 

To watch Jonas, filled with the hopeful optimism of youth, bring history back to his world was an exciting journey to see on screen–just as much as it was to read!

I highly recommend the book and the movie. Just be prepared afterwards to think about the world and your part in it. 

I walked away with the same sense of awe after reading the book as I did when I watched the movie. 

Winter’s Bone

“I’d be lost without the weight of you two on my back.”

Ree Dolly is 17 and responsible for her younger brothers and her mentally ill mama. 

Her daddy, Jessup Dolly, skipped bail and can’t be found. 

As part of his bond money, Jessup put up their homestead as collateral, which means Ree has to find him. 

The setting is the Ozarks. 

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. 

It’s not a young adult read, so don’t give it to a kid, but I highly, highly recommend it. 

I wasn’t sure why it felt familiar to me until I read the interview with Daniel Woodrell at the end of the book. 

If you enjoy works by William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, you will like Winter’s Bone. 

The story doesn’t shy away from the cold, hard facts. Nothing is white washed. 

Maybe this sounds weird, but the rhythm of the story draws you in…

Not every book does that to me. I almost skipped church because I didn’t want to stop reading. 

The movie is also really good. 

Summer Reading 2016

I’m working on my summer reading list and I am excited! 

3 of my favorite authors have new books out. All I want to do today is give you a snippet about each book (taken from the Amazon description).

 

unashamedUnashamed by Christine Caine

In her passionate and candid style, Christine leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself how to believe that God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations. He is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you. You can deal with your yesterday today, so that you can move on to what God has in store for you tomorrow—a powerful purpose and destiny he wants you to fulfill.

me tooMe Too by Jon Weece

[This is] what Me Too is all about: A God who turned the ugliness of the cross into a spectacle of eternal beauty. An all-powerful Lord who will do the same with the pain of this world. An eternal Father who specializes in wiping away tears and putting you back together again. If you’ll allow him.

ridiculousfaithRidiculous Faith by Shelene Bryan

True faith is vital to a vibrant Christian life. Without it, it is impossible to please God. But are your moments of deepest, most essential faith doomed to dissipate as quickly as they materialize, leaving you powerless and ineffectual?

Absolutely not. The truth is, you are not doomed to a lifetime of flickering faith.

Let me know if you decide to check out any of these books.

Of course, you know that I love to read, but I equally love to discuss what I’m reading! 

The Road Home

 

 

the road homeI’m still not sure why Christian Fiction authors love the Amish so much, but I’m hooked now…

The bad news about there being so many novels about the Amish is that many of them are cookie cutters.

Which leads to my confession:

I am reading The Road Home by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen for the 4th time in 2 years.

Technically, I’ve listened to the audio book 3 times and currently I’m reading the print version. (The whole debate on audio books vs. printed books is a touchy subject among readers.) 


The Road Home
is one of the best Christian fiction books I have ever read. There’s depth and character development and no cheesiness.

Another plus is that the novel is a modern retelling of the Book of Ruth. 

I don’t want to give anything away, but here’s the blurb:

For Naomi Kauffman Yoder, memories of a Pennsylvania Dutch childhood, abandoned roots, lost connections, and shattered dreams have left her with nothing but loneliness and regret. Now wracked with grief, she comes to a momentous decision…

For Ruth Escalante Yoder, daughter-in-law and friend to Naomi, she concludes that leaving Las Vegas is the only option left to her…

So begins their odyssey–a cross-country quest in Naomi’s creaky old Impala as she returns to her family farm in Lancaster County, to the values of a life once spurned.

Although never having seen the East before, Ruth too is looking for a place to call home. Will she find it among the slow, quiet rhythms of Pennsylvania farm country?

Doesn’t this story sound cool?!?

Let me know if you read the book. And, if you have any theories on why Christian authors love the Amish, I’d love to hear those too!

 

Walk to Beautiful

I did something last night that I haven’t done in a long, long time: I stayed up until 2 AM reading a book. 

Good stories, especially true stories, intrigue me more than anything.

Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne is a captivating story of one man’s troubling childhood and how he became successful despite the trials. 

walk to beautiful

There was no way I could put the book down.

No matter how many chapters I said were the last.

No matter how many times I told myself, “30 more minutes, Audra.”

How could I stop now? The story was holding me captive! 

Jimmy lived in a world raging with violence and with no sense of normalcy, but he still had hope.

This one fact is amazing to me.

 

We are all hardwired to hope, which is why I think the saddest thing to see is hopelessness prevail. A sense of utter hopelessness is the #1 reason people commit suicide.

What I love about Jimmy’s story is how he wrestled hopelessness to the ground, tied it up, and ended it’s life–not his own.

Inspiration is awesome, no doubt, but inspiration that leads to change? Yes! Sign me up!

The biggest obstacle Jimmy faced as a boy was loneliness because people saw him as another juvenile delinquent when he was just an innocent kid. He only knew darkness; he’d only seen glimpses of light.

Many children in foster care face the same challenge. They want to do better, but no one’s ever modeled what that was for them. Or, in the worst of cases, they’ve succumbed to hopelessness.

All it takes, though, is one person reaching out to help. 

And that’s all I could think about last night as I turned page after page….

 

 

 

 

 

This Ordinary Adventure

Aren’t we all afraid of being normal? 

If someone calls you normal, they might as well say, “You are the most boring person I know.”

At least, that’s how it feels because who doesn’t want to be known as a wandering, wondering, unpredictable world changer?   I just finished This Ordinary Adventure by Christine and Adam Jeske, which answers that question. 

Adam and Christine served as missionaries to Nicarauga, China, and South Africa before moving back to Wisconsin with their 2 children. 

They wondered if moving back to America was “settling” for a mediocre life. 

I enjoyed how the book switched back and forth between their two perspectives. 

If you find yourself struggling in this area, I think this book will be helpful.