7 Habits of the Helping Heart, How to Live Out Your Faith and Care for the Poor, by John Christopher Frame, Christian Living, 2021

John Frame uses first person responses from his international encounters to help us see how impossible it is to treat any form of poverty by generalization.  A companion study guide gives thoughtful questions and suggests practical ways to act on the 7 habits. 

7 Days to Upping Your Prayer Life, Loving Others, and Having More Joy by John Christopher Frame, Christian Living, 2021

This short but effective devotional guide/journal helps identify the connection between gratitude, humility, empathy, compassion generosity, holiness, and hope.  A short devotional, reflective questions, scripture to read, a sample prayer and a focused action. helps you do more than just think about of these issues. 

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War:  How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18, by Joseph Loconte, Nonfiction, 2015

While this book shares details the friendship between Tolkien and Lewis, it goes farther with how World War I informed the writing of both men.   If you have read the Fellowship of the Ring books and traveled to the  world of Narnia, this book is for you.

A Light So Lovely  by Sara Arthur, Nonfiction, 2018

Arthur’s book summarizes the spiritual legacy of this often misunderstood author. Well researched, it shares formative details of Madeleine’s life using her writing and the people who knew her. For those who want a thoughtful stretch, this read is for you.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, Fiction, 1943

Francie Nolan  lived in Brooklyn in the 1900’s and dreamed the American Dream in its early, hopeful, and undefiled innocence.  It is the story of family coming together in spite of loss and knowing you will survive. 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan, Historical Fiction, 2018

While Patti Callahan was not the first to fall in love with C. S. Lewis writings nor the first to try to write about his American wife, Joy Davidman; she was the first to tell the story from Mrs. Lewis' perspective. This  was more than a love story, it was a marriage of mind and soul as well. 

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes, Fiction, 2016

Julian Fellowes (author of Downton Abbey) writes another story of inheritance interrupted, secrets, family dysfunction, marriage based on social standing, and the stark division between the upstairs family and downstairs servants.

Beautiful Country by Quian Julie Chang, Memoir, 2021 Told through the young inquisitive, intelligent, but cautious Quian, we learn a desperate and heart-breaking story of living an invisible life as an undocumented immigrant..  Chang’s sparse but deeply affecting prose is worth the read on several levels:  for the writing, for the story, and for the celebration of an indomitable spirit. 

Chasing Vines by Beth Moore, Devotional/Christian Living, 2020​

Beth fell in love with vineyards of Tuscany and connected them to Jesus' teaching about vine-life..She shares  God’s way of growing and how organic it can become if we allow the Vinedresser free control. 

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette, Biblical Fiction, 2016

Egyptian Kiya throws her survival into the hands of the Jewish people after experiencing the terrors of the plagues. We follow her nail-biting escape and embracing the God of the Jews.  Check out books 2 and 3 if you enjoy her storytelling.  

Dangerous Women by Hope Adams, Historical Fiction, 2021

This book tells the mostly true, harrowing account of one voyage of 200 women.  When one of the women is murdered, the story becomes a mystery to solve while weaving a story of confinement, broken dreams, new hope, and sisterhood.

If I Were You by Lynn Austin, Fiction, 2020

Based first in England before and during World War II, it is a story about an emerging friendship between the upstairs aristocrat and a downstairs maid.  When the war offers a leveling space, their lives entangle in ways that change their futures after the war.

Jefferson's DaughtersThe Sisters, White and Black, in a Young Americaby Catherine Kerrison, Non-fiction, 2018

Learn what it meant to be a privileged white woman in the formative years of America as well as in European circles.  Every part of this very human story is laced with transporting details that places you in another time and place. 

Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict, Historical Fiction, 2020

Written in first person, we discover how the wife of Winston Churchill fought for the women’s vote, worked to improve conditions during London’s blitz, edited her husband’s speeches and negotiation strategies and much more. Marvelously written, it is a satisfying read.

Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard. Spiritual Formation,  2018. Spiritual formation writer/teacher,, Dallas Willard, takes “I shall not want” literally to remind us what must happen before “a life without lack” can become a reality.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling  by Ross King, Nonfiction, 2003

In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Pope’s chapel in the Vatican. Learn the about frescoes and the placement of each panel, as well as jealousies of the art world. The story is a powerful mix of art, Bible, skill and perseverance.

No Regrets:  Hope for your Caregiving Season by Rayna Neises, Nonfiction, 2021

While it focuses on caring for parents and “walking them all the way home,” its principles can be applied to spousal caregiving or other situations involving family.

Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews, Biblical Fiction, 2015. 

Mesu Andrews.tells the story of Moses from the perspective of Pharaoh's daughter who found him in the Nile and raised him as her own.  She fills in gaps with her own, satisfying what-if details along with some fascinating details from the biblical genealogy.

Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flag, Fiction, 2004

The quirky, warm-hearted, not-so-normal characters of Elmwood Springs, Missouri in the 1940’s take you into their lives so completely you want to borrow a cup of sugar from one of them.  It is a romp through post-war nostalgia, a loving caricature of the time I was born into.

The Artist's Way  by Julia Cameron, Non-fiction, 2016

Julia Cameron believes that God is the first and great Creative who empowers us with a creative center. This 12 week initiative outlines weekly and daily practices to rediscover your creative, God-endowed leanings.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson , Historical Fiction, 2018

This is the story about making the wedding gown for Princess Elizabeth who became Queen Elizabeth, told from three perspectives and two time periods. Heather discovers her grandmother's work at Hartwell's and their exquisite hand embroidery for the gown. Fascinating story in every way. 

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Well, Fiction, 2019

Two couples and their faith journeys intermingle to bring each person to new understandings in the middle of what life throws at them.

The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch , Fiction, 2010

South Africa's apartheid perspectives, emotions, and divisions take center stage in this story of Ada, daughter of a housemaid in South Africa. While history tells one story, the character in this story go deeper.  

The Library Book by Susan Orlean, Nonfiction, 2019

The story reviews the historical tragedy of the fire that destroyed the  Los Angeles Library and 700,000 books in 1986. While telling the story, the author also gives the most detailed, interesting, complicated, informative, and well-organized  information and history of libraries. 

The Place of Help by Oswald Chambers, Devotional, 1936 (originally)

I have come away with new understandings of the Garden, Gethsemane, the Cross, Redemption Life, and so much  more.  With timely principles, this is devotional reading that always takes you deeper. 

The Remarkable Ordinary  by Frederick Buechner --Devotional Memoir, 2018

Notable American writer, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Presbyterian minister, novelist, essayist, and theologian; Frederick Buechner writes part memoir and part spiritual formation asking us to listen to our life and understand it as  gift.

The Things we Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer, Fiction 2019

Allina is a young girl  lost in young love in Poland before the Nazi invasion.  Alice is the present-day granddaughter who accepts her grandmother's dying wish to return to Poland for missing pieces to her story. The twists and turns make this a hauntingly satisfying story.

Write Better by Andrew T. LePeau 

LePeau uses his 40 years as an editor to untangle the art of writing, finding voice, creating tone better than anyone I’ve found. His chapter on finding your calling creates a higher and much less self-centered standard.