During an interview at Verve Vegas a couple weeks ago, I was asked, “What are you reading right now?” My husband just shook his head like you have no idea people and I laughed because, well, this is what I was reading in September…

good reads september

God for the Rest of Us by Vince Antonucci

Vince is the lead pastor at Verve Vegas, where my husband is now serving as the executive pastor. God For the Rest of Us is Vince’s story of how he found God’s breathtaking love at work among the people at Verve, people often forgotten and disdained by this world. You can read the book and also check out the TV show on Tuesday nights on TBN.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff

Old fashioned letter writing for the win! This book is a collection of letters showing the twenty-year correspondence (1949-1969) between writer/book lover Helen Hanff in New York City and Frank Doel, chief buyer of rare books for Marks & Co in London. I read it in a couple of hours and was amazed at how Helen’s friendship developed with Frank and the other shop keepers through nothing but the simple letters, books and gifts they sent back and forth to each other.

Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines

Amber’s memoir about how God makes himself known in the broken places is vulnerable and and hopeful to be sure, but her lyrical style might be a bit much for those of you who prefer a more conversational tone. It’s a good read, but not a must read.

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle

I’m not gonna lie: I forced myself through this one. Apparently every writer/artist-type is supposed to read this and want to marry it, but I had a hard time connecting with it. I did like this quote an awful lot, though: “The purpose of the work, be it story or music or painting, is to further the coming of the kingdom, to make us aware of our status of children of God, and to turn our feet toward home.”

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

Meissner is my go-to author when I’m waiting for my library holds to arrive, and she never disappoints. In White Picket Fences, she weaves the stories of two Holocaust survivors in with her fictional story of a family who seems to live the perfect life. The take away? Even if you live behind a white picket fence, you still have to deal with the fallout of living in a broken world.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Reminiscent of Tuesdays With Morrie, this true story tells about the time Will spends with his mother during her weekly chemotherapy treatments and what they learn about life from discussing their favorite books. There’s a lot of wisdom and perspective packed into this tender tale, and I’m glad I finally read it. “Mom never wavered in her conviction that books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books is the grandest entertainment, and also is how you take part in the human conversation. Mom taught me that you can make a difference in the world and that books do matter: they’re how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others.”

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

This one falls into the must-read, must-recommend, must-buy-for-friends category for me. Ladies, we do have time to care for ourselves and make room for the things we love, even in the midst of hands-full seasons. Jessica shows us how to identify the underused pockets of time in our schedule and utilize them for ourselves. “When you shift your perspective from ‘I have no time’ to ‘There is time to be found,’ you will be amazed at how much time you actually have.”

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This smart, strangely educational look at dating in the 21st Century blew my mind. I learned so, SO much more than I expected I would from Aziz and his team of researchers and sociologists. A fascinating (though f-bomb filled) read for sure.


From Around the Web…

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk by Sherry Turkle for the NYT

“Our texts are fine. It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”

Space for Your Soul to Breathe by Emily P. Freeman

“I have become a big believer in finding your few things. The overcommitted, over-busy, fractured, distracted life is not one that I want to live, so I zero my energies in on the few things that I am doing.”

Are You a Brand? by Greg DuBose

“You are a brand. There is simply no escaping it. The decision is will you be organic, designer or counterfeit?”

If Your Calling Exceeds Your Capacity by Jennie Allen

“God seems to be in the business of stretching us past our abilities, resources, and capacity. It is just past ourselves that we see more of Him and He is best seen through our lives.”

I Forgot How to Be the Happy Mom by Rachel

“You are not the only mom who has ever stood in the kitchen with kids running around and dishes piled high and loud noises and tears have filled your eyes as you wondered what happened to happy.  It’s okay. For real.”

21 Actual Analogies Used By High School Students in English Essays via Tickld

“The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.”

When You Feel a Bit Selfish for Pursuing Your Calling by Sarah Bessey

“If teaching or preaching or writing or managing or leading or painting or film-making or delivering babies or studying astro-physics or whatever it is makes you feel more whole, then darling, do it all to the glory of God and you’ll see that the way it makes you come alive will stain your entire life with joy.”

In Case You Missed It (From Me)…

When the Sun Goes Down (on our decision to close Advance Church)

“We are standing firm in the hope of His storyline, the one that promises our present troubles are nothing compared to the glory that’s coming.”

Even This (my husband on our decision to close Advance Church)

“In the end, I hope Advance will live on, not just as the name of a church, but as a group of people committed to living by its very definition. We are Advancers—of God’s kingdom, of God’s Gospel, of God’s grace—and we will keep at it, trusting that the God who called us here calls us still.”

For You Are Good (what we discovered in the rubble of closing Advance Church)

“For the past three months, as God has uprooted our family and the Advancers in our midst, he has carefully and creatively forged beauty where we expected to find broken glass. He has intertwined the hard and the good, filling in the blanks and filling up our hearts with this most blessed assurance: I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.

The Last Minute on Your Mat

“I know your job is a drag and your grief is heavy and your diagnosis sucks and your toddler is an a-hole and your living situation is less than ideal and your singleness is getting old and your circumstances are crap, but I also know that God has already brought you through a lot of hard things in your life, and this current stretch of road—this last minute on your mat—is no exception.”

How about you? What did you read in September that we should know about?