This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

One of my favourites things is listening to stories.

We each have them. The story of how we came to be — of what shaped us and transformed us. The words that describe us. The gritty and grace-led moments that spread their way across the pages of our lives. It’s uniquely ours.

And the stories that I love most are the ones that feel authentic and messy. The ones that grapple with real-life questions and face them head on, rather than hiding beneath filters or Instagram-perfect poses. The ones that point to an over-arching story that reaches far beyond our day-to-day lives. The story that points us to Christ. To a greater story.

This is the premise that immediately drew me to Sam Collier’s book.

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In my opinion, the only thing better than book mail is surprise book mail. And I am so excited to share with you this giant box of Christian fiction that I just received from Martin-Graf Communications.

This is my very first unboxing video. It was a ton of fun to make and I can’t wait to show you what books I got. Be sure to watch the video and THEN scroll down to enter to win one of two books from this unboxing!

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A year ago, this little book on pregnancy loss was released.

It’s a book that I poured everything into. A book that I have wept over and prayed on. Edited and loved and gently nudged out into the world. This messy collection of broken stories and longing hearts, peels back the layers of grief to reveal something raw and tender. Hope.

Because hope after a pregnancy loss isn’t a myth.

And yet, we know that the road isn’t an easy one. The pain of losing a child is sharp and messy; a fire hotter than anything we’ve had to endure before. Standing in the furnace, the flames press in around us — blistering and suffocating. Blindly, we call out to be rescued. For God to remove this pain. It’s too much too handle.

But He draws us closer still.

And over the roar of the inferno, we hear the still small voice. The voice of a shepherd, steady and true. The voice of One calling us to press in and dig deep. To lift these hands seared by fire lifted high in surrender.

Not to run. But to embrace.

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**I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.**

“I think we actually have a joy crisis on our hands. We’re living in a society that’s so characterized by stress, worry, busyness, and fear, and we don’t seem to understand how the removal of joy from our faith experience is affecting not only our ability to trust God but also our ability to grow in endurance, character, and hope.”

Reading through Talasi Guerra’s new book, “Joy Like a Mountain” these words jump out at me — a joy crisis. In the following pages, this is exactly what Talasi aims to explore. Challenging her readers to dig deeper, she asks, “In a world characterized by stress, worry, depression, and fear, what does it take to generate joy and reclaim the lives we were created to live?”

Exploring the critical connection between joy and suffering, Talasi offers a profound view of how intentional joy can revolutionize the gruelling journey up the mountain of life.

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Post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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You know when a book lands in your lap at exactly the right moment?

That was this book for me.

Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson is a coffee-table worthy beauty. But it’s not just your average, “home-decorating how-to.” Instead, Shannon invites readers to look at the purpose behind a lovely home — one designed to meet your family’s individual needs, to offer hospitality to those around us, and to be stewards of what God’s given us.

Our family is currently knee-deep in renovations and moving prep. As I write this, walls are going up to create my husband’s soon-to-be office and the floor of our new home has been stripped of its previous carpet. For weeks now, I’ve been studying paint chips and dreaming of IKEA closet organizers and how to best arrange living-room furniture. And for someone who knows what I want my home to look like, but just doesn’t know how to achieve it, Home Made Lovely couldn’t have come at a better time.

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I usually inhale books. The pages dance beneath my fingertips, blurring and whirling as I hungrily suck in words. But every once in a while, a gem is uncovered. A book so meticulously crafted, I can’t help but savor it, letting it steep and soak into the recesses of my imagination. It’s a pleasant surprise to unfurl the first chapter and immediately know, this one’s a keeper.

Set the Stars Alight was that book.

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Summer Book Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but summer is one of my favourite seasons for reading. Lounging in the sun by the lake, a cool drink in one hand and a book in the other — does it get any better? That’s why I am super excited to share with you this AMAZING summer giveaway! Sponsored by Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, one of my Canadian readers is going to win a box of eight, beautiful books — perfect for any end-of-summer getaways!

Rules:
  • Enter at the bottom of this page.
  • Contest is ONLY open to those with a Canadian mailing address
  • ONE winner will be drawn on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Ready? Here’s what you could find in your summer reading pile: Read more

Hello readers!

Guess who has some exciting news?

As many of you know, I host an annual reading challenge. This challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, is a yearly list compiled of (you guessed it) fifty-two unique prompts. Find a book that matches each prompt, read it, and check it off the list. The result is a fun way to mix up your reading, all the while trying new authors and genres.

I created this challenge back in 2018 and invited all of you to join along. This year was now my third year creating and running the challenge — and I’ve been blown away by the response. Each year, our little group of participants has grown and grown. This year, we have over 13,000 challenge members on our Facebook group. It’s an active and incredible community of readers. Not only is it a place to find new reads, it’s also a great way to connect with fellow bookworms.

Because of all this amazing growth, I am excited to announce that the challenge is now getting its own space!

Welcome to The 52 Book Club! (www.the52book.club)

Moving forward, all future challenges will be released and found via our new website, The 52 Book Club. This new branding will hopefully make it easier for future participants to find, as well as help clarify what we’re all about. (You can head over there now to see a full list of past and current challenges, as well as a collection of frequently asked questions and “how to’s.”)

This rebrand has also given us a bit of opportunity to expand. You can now find and join in with the challenge on Instagram! (www.instagram.com/the52bookclub)

We are so excited for this new “chapter” and invite you all to join in!

Happy reading!

– Liz

The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?

I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.

I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.

I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.

These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you. Read more

When it comes to the church, we all have stories. Some stories are of ones where we feel welcomed and included, comfortable and free to worship; while others are stories of pain and confusion, uncertainty or discomfort.

I remember my first few months away at college, hopping from church to church in a small prairie town, trying to find the one that felt most like home. One Sunday evening, while out for a walk with a friend, we encountered two elderly ladies on their way to an evening service in the school gym. I’ll never forget how excited they were when we agreed to join them, how overjoyed they were to show us off to the other attendees during after-gathering cookies and coffee. The love of Christ radiated off our new, white-haired friends. That church wasn’t the one for me, but I’ll never forget that feeling of being welcomed so warmly. That was what I was looking for in a church family: community, a warm and open invitation, and most of all, Jesus.

In Traci Rhoades new book, “Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost,” readers are invited to look past the denominational differences that separate us and instead find Jesus amidst the differing worship styles. As she says, “We don’t all practice our faith the exact same way, but our God is big enough to embrace all the ways we encounter Jesus. And Jesus sits at the head of the table. Always.”

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“God is calling His warrior women to invest their lives in something that is bigger than themselves: the kingdom of God. These kinds of women give their lives to relentless prayer.”
– Sheila Walsh, “Praying Women”

If we’re honest, we’ve all had times in our lives where prayer has been a struggle. We may find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations, wondering if God actually hears us. Can He truly fix this? Why hasn’t He answered? Or perhaps, we enter into prayer time with the best intentions but immediately find ourselves daydreaming or drifting off to sleep. We equate prayer time with a chore, a box to check.

When it comes to prayer, we all come to the table with baggage and history. With wounds and scars. Thankfully, prayer isn’t about perfect people. It’s not about knowing the right words or being doubt-free.

It’s about our hearts. It’s about step-by-step transformation. It’s about trust, even in the silence. It’s about coming and laying it all before Him. 

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We made it!

52 books in 52 weeks and our annual challenge is once again drawing to a close. This year was a fun one with categories like, “an ugly cover,” “a book about time travel,” and, “a beach read.”

In just a few days, we will launch the 2020 Challenge! This challenge will look the same as the previous two years: 52 different categories to check off and read throughout 2020. With brand new categories and a thriving Facebook group for ideas, suggestions, and accountability — this is the book challenge to participate in this year!

And in case you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why YOU should join next year’s challenge:

  1. It’ll help you read MORE! I recently posted an article on 12 Ways to Read More — one of which is “reading challenges.” If you’re looking for motivation, tracking your reads and setting an attainable goal is always a good first step.
  2. It might be time to mix up your reading. Let’s be honest, we all fall into reading ruts from time to time. We all get comfortable with our favourite authors and genres. But maybe this year, it’s time to try something new. With 52 different categories, this challenge invites participants to expand their regular reading and pick up books they might not otherwise read. Who knows, you might just find a new favourite or two?
  3. It’s a TON of fun! One of my favourite parts of this challenge is lining up which books fit which categories. I love researching books and looking beyond my usual line up. I also love the community of readers who participate in this challenge every year — with bookworms from around the globe, your “to be read” pile will only grow!

So, what do you think? You in?

While I let you decide, here’s a look at my final reads for 2019:

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