Category Archives: What I’m Reading

My Favorite Books about the Writer’s Life

I love a good memoir. It’s fascinating to get inside someone else’s head, to feel their emotions and appreciate their life vicariously.

Even better when they are a writer with a gift for words. After puzzling about why I’m drawn to memoir’s about the writer’s life, I uncovered four reasons.

1. Every artist is blazing a new trail.  

Everyone has a different journey. 

No one reaches the goals in the same way. 

It’s okay to be a wannabe, because everyone starts out there.

2. Writers often articulate their journeys well.

It makes sense. They’re writers, after all. Sometimes they pour all the expertise they use in creating fiction or crafting a story arc into the narrative of their life.

3. Today’s journey to becoming a published author looks different than in the past.

The books I’ve chosen tell stories of when traditional publishing was king and hundreds of rejections were par for the course.

The internet is full of successful writers telling you how to do it today, given the changing landscape.

But, the principles remain.  And human nature hasn’t changed.   

The perseverance still has to be there.  The self-doubt is always a dragon to slay.  The spaghetti flinging experimentation still has to happen. 

There’s plenty of evidence that even those at the pinnacle can be assailed by self-doubt. 

Perseverance is critical.  What about lucky breaks?  Sometimes they do play a part.  But, they never determine a successful career without consistent hard work behind it all. 

4. A writer’s memoir is not about a step by step process.  

It’s more about inspiration and encouragement and a behind the scenes look at the journey.  

Even if you’re not a writer or an aspiring writer, if you enjoy a good memoir, you will enjoy a peek behind the curtain of the writer’s life.  

Here’s my favorites.

On Writing by Stephen King

I don’t read Stephen King books or watch movies based on his books.

But, it is a well-respected fact that he is a master story teller.  Why not learn from him?

On Writing is one of the best books out there about writing and the writer’s life.


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott has a gift with words and a wry, self-deprecating humor. 

I love her memiors.  I tried reading her novels and didn’t enjoy them. 

Even though I don’t agree with her theology or her politics, I certainly appreciate her writing. 

Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks

My husband went through a phase when he was reading a lot of Terry Brooks books.  I read one or two.  Fantasy isn’t really my genre. 

But, once again, I can appreciate a good storyteller and love hearing behind the scenes of the reading life.  His journey emphasizes the importance of a good editor and publisher, often unsung heroes in the writing game. 

Deer on the Bicycle by Patrick McManus

Great humor writing is in a class by itself, and Patrick McManus does it so well. 

He mostly writes quasi-autobiographical stories about outdoor adventures.  But, his ability to lead up to a laugh is unparalleled. 

Although I agree that a gift like that can’t be taught, it can be appreciated and learning what it’s like to have it and use it is pretty fun, too. 

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine Le’Engle

I think it’s always encouraging when an author’s journey isn’t a straight line between two points.  That’s certainly true for Madleine L’Engle.  She was distracted by marriage and family life.  She went through periods of discouragement and low productivity.  

She created on a typewriter in the kitchen with the chaos swirling around her. 

Some how in the midst of the chaos, she managed to produce a Newbery Award winning children’s novel.  

I feel Madeleine is someone who learned to juggle her professional ambitions along with her family needs. 

Before We Get Started by Bret Lott

Bret Lott’s story is one of hard work and perseverance and a wife who believed in him.  He exemplifies the classic path of investing and investing and investing while waiting for the payoff.  

Writers have to pay their dues, sometimes way longer than seems necessary.  

Sometimes the payoff comes.  But there are no guarantees and no one cracking the whip.  Putting in the time and staying the course can be long and lonely.  

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

This book wasn’t written about the writing life.  It’s told as a love story. 

But, it is about the writer’s life.  It’s a very intimate behind the scenes look at the writing life— not only C.S. Lewis’ writing life, but Joy Davidson’s as well. 

It’s a well-kept secret that she collaborated on some of Lewis’ works and that Joy Davidson herself was a writer, poet and editor. 

Do you have a favorite writer’s memoir? I’d love to hear about it.

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One Book a Month for Baby’s First Year

It’s true.

There’s a switch that flips when you become a Grandma.

Baby toys, clothes and books jump into my shopping cart now that I had no problem resisting before.

In a lot of ways, grand parenting feels familiar, too. Like starting over again at the beginning of parenting. But, this time around there’s the advantage of experience, perspective and being well-rested.

How to Grandma long distance

My first grand baby, Caroline, is about to turn one.

She lives nearby and we get a lot of time with her.

My grandson far away is still sleeping and kicking inside his mama.

I’ve been brainstorming ways to “Grandma” long distance.

Since I spent the last ten years of my life as a bookseller, sending books seems like the logical solution.

I’m intrigued and inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Project.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country. Every month every child ages 0-5 receives a book in the mail addressed to them.

I can do that.

“Books are delicious”

Besides pulling from my years at the bookstore, I got some good picks from Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival.

She says when we’re reading to babies, we’re helping them associate books with delight and affection.

“Books are delicious” Anyone who interacts with books and babies knows that’s true.

But not all baby books work for baby’s first year. So, I whittled down my list, looking for books that would be visually, orally and tactically appealing to the youngest audience, just waking up to the world.

I also kept in mind that baby books have to please two audiences, the adult and the baby. These top picks win with both.

(Note: All links are affiliate links which means at no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Who’s Knees Are These?

By Jabari Asim

Even before babies interact much with the world, a rhyme can captivate.

This one is fun to read.


Llama Llama Red Pajama

by Anna Dewdney

Another rhyming board book that pleasing both to the eye and the ear.




Taggies Thank You Prayer

A cloth book that is as much fun to play with as it is to read.

Soft, fuzzy cover.


Look Look

by Peter Linenthal

A black and white and red board book for babies who are just beginning to focus their visual attention.



Peek a Who?

by Nina Laden

Simple, fast paced book for babies who are beginning to interact and notice things. Nice surprise at the end.



Indestructibles Baby Peekaboo

by Kate Merritt

All the indestructibles books are made from incredible rip proof material that babies can’t damage.



Touch and Feel Baby Animals

Good tactile stimulation. And who can resist baby animals?



Good Night Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown

The classic board book that has entertained generations.



Dear Zoo

By Rod Campbell

Another classic, this one with flaps to lift up, that will delight and entertain.



Who says Quack?

Babies love animals and learning the sounds they make.



Yummy Yucky

by Leslie Patricelli

Everything goes into baby’s mouth, even things that shouldn’t be there. A humorous look at what’s good and what’s not.


The Pudgy Book of Mother Goose

Illustrated by Richard Walz

Small, easy to hold board book that contains classic Mother Goose rhymes.



  1. Who’s Knees Are These?
  2. Llama Llama Red Pajama
  3. Taggies Thank You Prayer
  4. Look Look
  5. Peek a Who?
  6. Indestructibles Baby Peekaboo
  7. Touch and Feel Baby Animals
  8. Good Night Moon
  9. Dear Zoo
  10. Who says Quack?
  11. Yummy Yucky
  12. Chunky Mother Goose

That’s my list for baby’s first year!

What are your top picks for the youngest readers?

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More Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love

Why should adults read Middle Grade Novels? There’s some great MG novels out there! The best ones are well-written and have an important message.

MG Novels can be just the ticket when you’re too stressed to follow a complex adult novel.

They often have a straight forward story line that is easy to follow. Often they have a limited cast of characters. They are less likely to shift back and forth in time and place.

They often offer an easy escape that requires little mental energy.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a portion of your purchase will support this site. )

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I believe that great fiction rings true.  Even one with a preposterous premise.

The Age of Miracles tells the story of a family dealing with the slowing of the earth’s rotation.  Every day is longer, every night is longer.  All the implications, all the choices, all the consequences.

The premise is preposterous, but the story still rings true.  Why?  Because it shows the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm.  It shows the importance of deep relationship in the face of crisis.  It shows the inevitability of coming of age, whether or not the earth turns.

I liked the main characters.  That helped a lot.

I liked the traditional values portrayed in the story.  Which goes to show, you CAN have a great story without a moral slide.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

I loved this book written for middle grades and I read it twice.

It gets five stars for being wholesome and a thumbs up for real heroes.  When I read middle grade, I find myself identifying with the teachers and principals.  Ha.

I loved the two families portrayed here and the real struggle with how twelve year olds deal with the heavy issues of life.

I liked her style.  I liked her characters.  I loved seeing the main character win the battles in his world.

Carry On, Mr Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

Good story.  In the tradition of Johnny Tremain, except based on an historical person.

Nat Bowditch was very smart, but he wasn’t able to go to Harvard because of his family’s difficult financial position, it was necessary for him to work to earn his keep. So he was indentured at age 12 to work as a bookkeeper.

The story inspires kids to persevere in the face of difficult circumstances.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

What a great book!  Highly recommended for all ages.

I love the way it tackles head on mega topics: embarrassment, shame, discouragement, rising above difficult circumstances, the elements of a true friendship. 

August Pullman is a likable fellow.  If he were a jerk, this story wouldn’t have worked.

It strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a person.  Where do you fit into society.  How does society react to you?

It’s not just an overcomer story.  It’s a family systems story.  Our family of origin matters so much when it comes to what we believe about ourselves.

I love the middle school principal in this story.  I love the way he has such a deep understanding of kids.  I love how he can see past the surface level to what is happening beneath the surface.  This is so good for teachers, administrators, youth pastors, everyone who deals with kids.  And for kids, themselves.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I’m tempted to go back and re-read this book now that I know the ending.

The plot was slow moving until all the pieces starting falling into place and it made sense.

From goodreads–

“Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal. Miranda is an ordinary sixth grader, until she starts receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. “

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

It’s interesting to stop and think about what it’s like to be blind from birth. How impossible it is to picture anything. What it means for your social interactions.

Add the fact that you’re sixteen years old and transferring from a blind school to a public school. How do you relate to others?

This is an engaging, feel good story. Satisfying.

Five stars for being wholesome and well-written. Technically, this is a Young Adult novel, not middle grade. Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival has a great explanation of the difference between middle grade books and young adult books, and why YA is a genre, not a reading level.

Did you miss Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love?

Which Middle Grade Novels do you love?

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Fascinating Novels Inspired by the Lives of Real People

I love a brilliantly  written novel inspired by true events. It’s been so fun to stumble across quite a few in this category over the last couple of years.  Some of these books have made it onto other lists and some are new to me, but all are five star reads for me.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.) 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Just when we thought all the stories of the Holocaust had been told, another emerges.

In the midst of the horror comes a story of survival and hope. The Hiding Place is always my go-to recommendation for World War II and Holocaust stories.  This one adds another dimension.

Light shines brightest in the dark.

Buy now from Amazon

 I Was Anatasia by Ariel Lawhorn

The world is enthralled by the story of Anastasia Romanov.  So much of it shrouded in mystery. What is fact, what is fiction, what is myth and what is legend?  We are drawn to the mystery, to the possibilities, to the tragedy and to the pathos of this story.

Ariel Lawhorn created a masterpiece, weaving all the strands of the story into one, cohesive, intriguing narrative.

Captivating till the end.

Buy now from Amazon

 Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favorite authors and The Chronicles of Narnia the pinnacle in children’s literature, in my opinion. Even though I knew the basic facts of the love story between Lewis and Joy Davidman, Becoming Mrs.  Lewis fleshed out the story in a probable narrative of their relationship.

I came to see her as an unsung hero in Lewis’ life.

There’s nothing like an inside peek at the life of one of the world’s greatest writers.

Buy now from Amazon

 We Were the Lucky Ones

by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Thousands of women worked on breaking codes during WWII. The government began by recruiting and training at women’s colleges, sending secret letters to students in the fall of their senior year.

Then they started recruiting teachers.

The work took special skills, and they didn’t always know what they were.

Intercepting and understanding enemy communication proved to be the critical strategy for the allies to win the war.

Thousands of American women working secretly to break enemy codes turned the tide.

This is the untold story of those women.

Buy now from Amazon

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

 “Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband, Jeremiah, to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war.

Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman’s search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.”– from Amazon

I liked learning about a piece of little known history during the Civil War. It’s hard to even imagine life in those circumstances.

Well written fictionalized account highlighting the stories of real women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men.

Buy now from Amazon

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

 Based of the life of the first female lawyer in Bombay.

Not only does this fictional account weave a riveting tale, it highlights the culture and customs of 1920’s India.

Limited educational opportunities, arranged marriages, gender segregation and inequalities.  These were real obstacles.

Navigating that world and winning is a real feat.

Buy now from Amazon

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Fascinating novelized account of the country’s first female sheriff.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  Tell how they defend themselves, throw in some family secrets and end up with the a female sheriff.  Well played.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.

 Buy now from Amazon

What are you reading this month? 

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Sometimes Understanding Human Nature Will Change Your Life: 6 Books to Help You

Humans are complex.

Several lifetimes of study on human nature will still fall short.

And, yet, sometimes the simplest insight will change the trajectory of our lives.  Once we know something we can’t unknow it.

Insight isn’t everything, of course.  There’s application.  Discipline.  Sharing what you know.

But, sometimes, just understanding is enough to make a change.

(Note:  this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

What’s all the buzz about the enneagram?  Why is there such a following for an ancient system of personality typing that seems to have no research behind it?

I put it in the same category as The 5 Love Languages.  It gains a following because it rings true.

Of course.  I should have seen it all along.  But, of course, we didn’t.  But now it seems so obvious when it’s all laid out.

Yes.  That is what I’m like.  That’s how my friends and family tick.  It all makes sense now.  I get it.  And because it rings true, it gains a following and creates a buzz.

Buy now from Amazon

Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup

Ruth is breaking new ground by introducing the 7 fear archetypes. This is a different way to understand yourself: based on your natural fear tendencies.

In spite of good information and insight in this book, I have a feeling it will not be embraced like some of her others. I’m guessing there’s a smaller percentage of the population that really wants to face their fears. Most of us would rather hide.

Ruth shares compelling stories from her own life and inspirational stories from others.  If you listen to her podcast or follow her online, you will have heard them before.  But, they’re still good.

Buy now from Amazon

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Heads up for language.

If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a shrink looks like, here’s your chance for a behind the scenes deep dive.

Lori pulls back the curtain on the intersection of personal life and professional life.  Real human drama.  How to become a therapist, how to survive as a therapist, how to see a therapist.

One of our deepest human needs is connection with other humans.  And, yet, sometimes we shoot ourself in the foot.  The reality is, though, that you really don’t have to have it all together in your life before you can help someone else.

Lori shares the stories of her patients as well as the stories of being on the couch herself.  For sure, no man is an island. Intriguing.  Compelling.

Buy now from Amazon

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Reading People is a good way to get a quick overview of some of the personality frameworks. Some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. I find personality fascinating.

It’s easy to see the practical applications and helpfulness of the different frameworks when Anne shares personal stories of how they have helped her.

I’m recommending this book to young people because it’s so important to know yourself. Having a vocabulary and reference points is so helpful for teams, co-workers, spouses and family members.

Highly recommended.

Buy now from Amazon

Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy

“If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships, or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting, and stressful to overcome by white knuckling. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment.”–from GoodReads

I heard Ben speak at Tribe Conference last year.  It’s amazing the following he’s gained on Medium.  He writes good stuff, too. Helpful stuff.

Well-written. Great message.

Buy now from Amazon

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is a quick read.  It is a compilation of wisdom from many gurus of time management, self-management and motivation.  The subtitle is “21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.”

If I have one beef with the book, it’s that he doesn’t attribute his ideas to the original authors.  But, the content is gold.

Simple and profound.  So why isn’t everyone doing it?  Because it’s hard.  At least, it’s hard to start.

He does tackle the psychological side of motivating yourself to do difficult things.

It is a book full of action points, laced with a few stories to illustrate the effectiveness of the principles he advocates.

The whole “eat the frog” analogy comes from Mark Twain who said that “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

Talking ourselves into doing difficult things instead of avoiding them gets us ahead.

Buy now from Amazon

What have you read lately that has changed your life? 

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You Haven’t Seen this Notable Memoir List on Buzzfeed

To me, the appeal of a memoir is the chance to crawl into someone else’s skin and get behind their eyes to know what they are thinking and feeling.

In a way, it’s a mystery.

What would it be like trying to get into college if you’d never gone to school?  What would it be like almost losing your life and clawing your way back to every skill you lost?  What would it be like finding out, at age 54, that the foundation of what you believed about yourself as a person wasn’t true?  What would it be like serving as the First Lady of the United States?

There’s a way to find out.

Read these memoirs.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Educated by Tara Westover

Easily the best memoir I’ve read all year.

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Read more.

Hope Heals by Katharine and Jay Wolf

Talk about courage in the face of loss.

At age 26 Katharine suffered a brainstem stroke that almost took her life.  Her husband was at the point of graduating from law school.  Their baby was six months old.

The chronicle of their journey is sobering and inspiring.

How would my faith hold up in those circumstances?  How would I handle a similar challenge?

Hats off to the Wolfs for their courage, faith and transparency.

This book was recommended by a blog reader.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

 Truly a remarkable human drama.

Finding out that her dad was not her biological father was just the beginning for Dani Shapiro.

Though that revelation was startling in itself, more secrets were uncovered.  The shock waves continued.

Dani takes the reader along on this unexpected journey of self-discovery.  The advances of modern science have made the unthinkable possible.


Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

I love Laura Bush’s humble spirit.  I love her ordinary every-day-ness.  Even though she became First Lady of the United States, she tells of being content with simple pleasures.

One day her friend came to visit her in the White House.  They worked out together and then relaxed in the sitting room, each reading their own book.

Another story in this memoir made a lasting impression.

On page 113, she recounts, “Once, when the girls were two and a half, Bar Bush made a rare stop in Midland.  Jenna and Barbara ran out of the house with their arms held out to greet her, calling ‘Ganny’, the name all Bushes give their grandmothers, and she looked up at me and said with gratitude, ‘Thank you for teaching your girls to know me.’ ”

It’s a heart melting story, but to me it drove home the importance of intentionally bridging the gap with far away family.

It resonated because my nuclear family and the family we raised both have experience with long distance family relationships.  I wrote a post about it.  Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles.

What have you been reading lately? 



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Why Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated, is Haunting Me. In a Good Way.

I found myself thinking about this book long after I finished it.  That’s a good sign.

What it’s about:

“Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.”– from Amazon

If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, I think you’d like Educated.

Who it’s not for:

If you’re squeamish about descriptions of physical pain, this book is not for you.

Why I liked it:

There’s a reason I studied psychology in college. Human nature is fascinating.

Why does someone become a mass murder? What does it feel like to be dying of cancer? How do you handle the logistics of an unusually large family?

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Since I’ve read it, it continues to haunt me (in a good way) and intrigue me and fascinate me.

Highly recommended.

   Buy now from Amazon 

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Pivotal Books that were Game Changers

Sometimes the right book comes into your life at the right time.  It has the answers you’re searching for.  It solves the problem.  It addresses the pain.

I love it when that happens.

Here’s a few that fit the bill in my life.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child 

by Marc Weissbluth

Our first baby was not a good sleeper.  I don’t know how much was personality, how much was parenting.  But, it wasn’t till his little sister came along more than two and half years later that I stumbled on this book.

Applying the principles to help her sleep better changed the whole game.  A good sleeper doesn’t just make a happy child, it makes a happy family.


Buy now from Amazon

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

This quick read packs a punch.  Told as a parable, the story rings all too true.  Once you know the five dysfunctions, you see them everywhere.

This book dropped into our lives at a time understanding team proved to be critical to our work.

Time after time, this book hits home for people, making it a well-deserved modern classic.

Buy now from Amazon

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

 So many of the principles in Stephen Covey’s classic work were revolutionary for me.  Begin with the end in mind.  Organize your time around your roles.  Take time to sharpen the saw.  Seek first to understand.

I think they resonated with me because I believed them to be true intrinsically, but had never heard them articulated before.



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One Thousand Gifts

by Ann Voskamp

 Every person in the world knows pain and heartache.  And every person can number their blessings.

Ann Voskamp’s challenges us to be mindful and intentional about looking for and expressing gratitude.  It colors my thinking to this day.

I understand that her poetic prose doesn’t appeal to everyone.  Grammar Nazis beware.  But the message is universal and important.


Buy now from Amazon

The Gift of Dyslexia

by Ronald D.Davis

 I scoured the web looking for resources after one of our kids finished a dyslexia evaluation.  Obviously, there’s countless directions you can go for help.  I’m forever thankful I stumbled on to the Davis approach for the simple reason that it worked for us.

The book and the program were worth many times over what we invested.

Aside from the practical help, I loved learning more about dyslexia and the distinct advantages the dyslexic carries in his toolbox.


Buy now from Amazon

Hashimoto’s Protocol

by Izabella Wentz

I’m grateful for the wealth of information Izabella Wentz has made available through her books and articles on the internet about thyroid disease, and, specifically, about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Some on her approaches are unconventional.  It’s taken me years to absorb the firehose of information she produced.  I’ve implemented her suggestions slowly, but it’s made a dramatic difference in my health.  It’s hard to argue with success.



Buy now from Amazon

What books have been game changers for you?



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My Reluctant Foray Into Audiobooks

I’m a slow learner.

It’s true.  I often need to hear something over and over, try it over and over, have it nailed into my head repeatedly before it sticks.

It took me a long time before I started checking out ebooks from the library.  That crazy learning curve, ya know?

I needed help setting up an instagram account.

I also needed help installing the app that allowed me to listen to podcasts on my phone (don’t get me started on my phone– I can barely work it).

So, while I’ve been intrigued with the idea of audiobooks, I’ve procrastinated on checking into them.

Partly fear of the unknown, partly one more thing to figure out, partly an intense love for silence.

But, today I did it.

I borrowed an audiobook from the library.

Credit belongs where credit is due.  I owe a lot to Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy for paving the way, generating interest and the recommendation for the first audiobook I borrowed.

Check out her post The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks

The book I’m listening to (recommended by Anne Bogel) is Dolly Parton’s Dream More.  I admire Dolly Parton and I’m a huge fan of her Imagination Library concept.  If you’re not familiar with this project, it’s where she sends books every month to kids age 0 to 5.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country.

Anyway, hearing the book read by Dolly herself in her one-of-a-kind accent and enthusiasm and even some crooning, is a real treat.

I’m also thinking with graduation right around the corner, this is going to be a good book to have on the shelves to give as a graduation gift.

 So, it looks like, similar to ebooks and podcasts, before long I will be hooked on audiobooks.

I haven’t downloaded the overdrive app.  I’m just listening to this one on the computer.

Probably that’s the next step.

Which means I need to move the pictures on my phone to free up space.

But, I’m glad I took the first step.

Sometimes we’re resistant to dip our toes in, even when we think it will be a good experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any tips or helpful advice?

Are you interested in starting audiobooks?  Jump in with me!

P.S. Did you miss these posts?

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Against All Odds: True Stories That Will Inspire You

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity is the mother of survival.

Do you ever wonder how you would fare in the most adverse circumstances?  Most of us will never know.

But, a few souls demonstrate incredible courage, ingenuity and triumph in the most dire circumstances.

Their stories can bolster our courage in the face of adversity.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.) 


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and World War II soldier.

The perseverance and resilience Zamperini displayed in the face the multiple titanic challenges is an inspiration.

Knowing his background and family intensifies the story.

The final resolution is satisfying and heart warming.

Aside from the story, the writing is a work of art.

Buy now from Amazon

We Were the Lucky Ones

 by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. As a psychiartrist, he analyzed the fellow prisoners, the ones who had given up hope and died and the ones who had the will to live.

He concluded that everyone needs to find their own reason for being on the planet: their life’s work.

Focusing his thoughts on finishing his book and seeing his wife again sustained him during the horrific experience of the concentration camp.

Buy now from Amazon

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The story of a college rowing team going for the gold hardly seems the stuff of adverse circumstances. But, the pathos of the story draws you in.  Joe Rantz is an almost Dickensonian hero.

Tracing the background of Rantz and others on the champion rowing team puts you in the boat with the rowers and has you cheering with the crowds on the shore.

The up close and behind the scenes glimpses of history are instructive and sobering.  I love the real life lessons of leadership and teamwork.

Buy now from Amazon


What are your favorite stories of people beating the odds?

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