Books I Love

Book Club

The Frozen River, by Ariel Lawhon

Book Cover: The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon

I signed up for my first book club long before the group decided on a book. When I read the description for The Frozen River, I was less than excited. Set in the 1700s was strike one, as I’m not usually drawn to “old fashioned” or historical books. A book about a midwife, strike two; I’m not a mom, and I wasn’t sure if I would relate to the main character. But it also mentioned that this midwife was a healer. Ok, so I’m intrigued. Rape and murder? This might be a difficult read, but not something I shy away from. And I’m glad I didn’t. 

Two things I adored about this book are the love story of Martha and Ephraim that was woven throughout and the strength and resilience of women despite all odds. 

“A woman is never more vulnerable than while in labor. Nor is she ever stronger.” From the vulnerability and strength of a woman in labor to the strength of this community of women who show up, have no complaints, and do the work that needs to be done, supporting any way they can, I was inspired to want my own circle or tribe of women (without the childbirth aspect).

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Come Eat at My Table (What a Difference a Year Makes), by Ruth O'Neil

Come Eat at my Table by Ruth O'NeilGreat story with valuable life lessons about family, faith, forgiveness, healing our past, hospitality with a servant’s heart, and bringing the secrets from the dark to the light.

Come Eat at My Table (What a Difference a Year Makes) (Amazon affiliate link) is truly a delight!

Great character development – I felt like I truly knew them… I couldn’t wait to see how the story unfolded – even with the surprises!

Ruth O’Neil has a gift as an author and storyteller!

GUEST BLOG POST: The Love Language of Food

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My Story: From Deathbed to Glory, by Brenda Elkins Tricome

Brenda shares her faith purely in My Story: From Deathbed to Glory (Amazon affiliate link).

She gives us a transparent look at her journey, her pain, her fears, and her faith through a devastating and scary illness. It was her faith that helped her focus on her own healing and then in the process, be open to discovering the other areas of her life and relationships that needed attention. I love her ability to brush the non-important things off, offer herself grace, and even laugh at herself through the process.

This book is a wonderful gift that enables the reader to reexamine priorities and relationships, never take anything for granted, and listen to God’s purpose, even when those closest to us haven’t heard the same message. Thank you for the inspiration, Brenda!

GUEST BLOG POST: Faith in God, Hard Work and Perseverance by Brenda Elkins Tricome

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Words that Sting: How to handle destructive criticism like Jesus, by John Stange

Book Cover: Words That Sting, By John StangeWords that Sting: How to handle destructive criticism like Jesus
(Spiritual Growth by John Stange Book 5)
by John Stange

I’ve dealt with my fair share of critics, and I have to say, I struggle to shake off their criticism. Not constructive criticism but unfounded criticism. Sometimes, these words hurt or come from nowhere, and they don’t always make sense.

John’s book is filled with words of encouragement and a fresh perspective that was just what I needed. I know I’m reading a good book when I’m sharing profound lessons with others before I finish reading it!

I loved his guidance that critics are not builders; they are commentators. They don’t see the big picture. And often, their core desire is not to follow the Father’s will but to tear down those who are.

Highly recommend.

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From Vision-2-Victory: 26 Successful Strategies to take your Visions and Dreams to Victory! by Phyllis Jenkins

From Vision-2-Victory: 26 Successful Strategies to take your Visions and Dreams to Victory! by Phyllis JenkinsGolden nuggets abound as story after story encourages readers to come out of hiding and dust off their dreams. Jenkins delivers on her promise that you will walk away with wisdom, knowledge, tips, tools, tactics, and resources to take you from vision-2-victory.

Over the years, I’ve learned to give myself grace through the seasons of self-doubt. Sometimes, I need to borrow from others’ beliefs, and that is what I received. These are stories of 26 women who had dreams and doubts but stayed focused and took action. A great read filled with stories to inspire, comfort, and restore confidence in what God has called you to do.

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Hello, Purpose! : 21 Day Journal to Uncovering Your Purpose, by Dave Jenkins

Book Cover: Hello, Purpose! : 21 Day Journal to Uncovering Your Purpose by Dave JenkinsThis is a short, easy-to-follow guide to drawing closer to God and discovering your purpose in 21 days. Jenkins touches upon surrender, presence, consistency, intention, gratitude, and releasing limiting beliefs. It is one of those books you will come back to time and time again when you need reassurance that God has a purpose for your life.

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Fifty Over 50 by Greg Gerber

Book Cover: Fifty Over 50: Inspirational profiles of people passionately pursuing new purpose later in life by Greg GerberInspiring Stories of Renewed Energy and Purposeful Lives from Seasoned Citizens

Fifty Over 50: Inspirational profiles of people passionately pursuing new purpose later in life by Greg Gerber is a heartwarming collection of inspirational stories that exemplify the power of embracing life’s challenges, transforming pain into purpose, and finding newfound meaning in the second half of life. Similar to the stories you’d find in the beloved “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, this anthology shines a light on individuals over 50 who have defied the conventional narrative of aging.

Story headlines from Fifty Over 50 could very well include

  • Published at 52
  • Invention at 61
  • From corporate burnout to peaceful respite
  • Published at 96
  • Turning pain into purpose
  • Becoming a well-known painter at 76
  • Leaving behind unsatisfying jobs and controlling bosses for freedom, joy, well-being and serving others with passion. 

The stories found in Greg’s Fifty Over 50 celebrate individuals who refuse to let chronological age limit or define them. They inspire us to understand and embrace the boundless potential we have at any age and remind us that regardless of what stage of life we’re in, we can embrace change, overcome obstacles, and find purpose in our journey!

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Happiness The Inside Job by Matt Pepper

Book Cover: Happiness The Inside Job: The 7 Ways to Life-Changing Happiness by Matt PepperHappiness The Inside Job: The 7 Ways to Life-Changing Happiness
by Matt Pepper

I was first introduced to author Matt Pepper in a Menopause Masterclass hosted by Over the Bloody Moon, a UK-based organization founded by Lesley Salem that supports those going through menopause at work, their colleagues and employers so they can continue to thrive.

I was intrigued by the workshop title: Fire Up Your Happiness. I’ve struggled with my mindset around happiness and am always open to learning new tips. Matt Pepper did not disappoint; before the hour was up, I ordered his book Happiness, The Inside Job.

In his book, Matt Pepper reminds us to take control of our own mental and emotional fitness. By taking responsibility, we are more empowered. He gives seven key tips to stay happy despite the ups and downs, stresses and strains, and good and bad times. When life sucks, as it sometimes does, we need to focus on feeling good first. And focus less on our external circumstances. From tending to your emotional garden to listening to your wise old gut, this book packs in so many golden nuggets that will increase your happiness and energy levels.

My favorite quote from the book is “…finding the place that feels good, ‘your natural state’, is where your power lies.” That’s a concept I can embrace.

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The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life, by Marion Roach Smith
The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & LifeYears after Come Back Strong was printed, I began to look closer at genres and was drawn to the art and brilliance of memoir.

You may think of a memoir as an account of one’s personal life and experience or a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.

I prefer Marion Roach Smith’s definition:

Memoir is about something you know after something you’ve been through.

This resonates with me. I often process challenging aspects of my life through reflection and writing. Since my teen years, I have believed the scripture, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20). It has been an underlying theme in my life to translate my pain, growth, and healing into a passion to help others. Memoir allows me to do that.

Marion Roach Smith breaks down the craft of memoir, guiding you to find the universal themes in your deeply personal experiences.

A great read for any writer.  

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Book Review: The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving, by Judith Henry

It was in Marion Roach Smith’s blog post, Can a Memoir Be a Self-Help Book? Can a Self-Help Book Be a Memoir? that I discovered that hybrids between memoir and self-help do indeed exist. One such example of a Hybrid Self-Help Memoir is Judith Henry’s The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving.

I bought the book even though I’m not a caregiver in the typical sense of the word. I have provided care for my husband after surgery and he cared for me after my hysterectomy/oophorectomy. As for my parents, they are both healthy and independent and enjoying their retirement.

But I’m at that age where my friends and classmates are taking care of their parents. For many years, my sister-in-law was the caregiver to my mother-in-law, who suffered from dementia. My childhood friend is responsible for caring for her wheelchair-bound mother. Whether your loved one is physically or mentally challenged, caregiving is no joke. It is exhausting overwhelming. And in some cases, extremely fulfilling.

I found myself laughing and crying as I read Henry’s The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to CaregivingShe did a beautiful job of weaving her deeply personal experience and what she learned from it with an instructional manual of sorts for readers who find themselves in a similar situation as a caregiver. Her words definitely made me think. And because of this, I’d like to share and recommend her book.

Henry includes personal studies, practical wisdom, and must-have legal documents. She includes a glossary, suggested readings, helpful websites, and even a book club study guide – what a great idea for a support group. She talks about stress, family dynamics, and knowing what questions to ask your loved one’s doctor. All in all, she provides a really good caregiver toolbox.

It’s never easy to talk about the aging of our loved ones. It’s even harder to live through. But it is in the conversations about death and the end of life wishes that we discover grace.


Why you’ll be interested in this book:

  1. You are a caregiver. You have an aging parent, relative, or friend and want to know how to navigate the journey with grace, love, and kindness.
  2. You want to put a plan in place for yourself that your children or caregiver can follow.
  3. You are facing surgery or a medical condition and want to put your affairs in order.
  4. You are a writer who would like to write a memoir or self-help book. If you’ve been through something and feel your experience could benefit others, you’ll benefit from reading this hybrid self-help/memoir.

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Menopause Ain't No Joke, by Angela Verges

Menopause Ain't No Joke, by Angela VergesHaving experienced menopause suddenly and intensely by way of surgery, I know the value of the right mindset combined with a little humor and a whole lot of prayer. Angela Verges combines all three in her book Menopause Ain’t No Joke: Blending Faith and Humor in Perfectly Imperfect Situations (Amazon affiliate link).

This book is filled with short, easy-to-read stories, peppered with scripture, and provides pages to journal and record gratitudes. The author’s writing reminds us that we are not alone while helping us laugh through the discomfort of menopause.

This book could easily be used as a daily devotional or Bible study to help women through menopause, parenting, and more!

GUEST BLOG POST:  The Hokey Pokey of Menopause with Angela Verges

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Surgical Menopause ~ Not Your Typical Menopause, by Helen Kemp
Book: Surgical Menopause ~ Not Your Typical MenopauseSuch a well-needed collection of stories that remind us we are not alone, nor are we imagining our plethora of symptoms.

Real stories from real women sharing the truth that surgical menopause is indeed difficult and intense, but with time, we can move from feeling fragile and vulnerable to capable and confident.

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The Estrogen Question: Know Before You Say "No" to HRT By Sandra Rice, MD

The Estrogen Question by Dr. Sandra RiceThe choice for HRT is indeed a personal one, but there is so much confusion and fear around menopause and hormone therapy. Dr. Rice’s book helps women to educate and empower themselves to make the best decisions for their health. She clarifies an often confusing topic bringing her experience, education, and compassion to women.
It is a must-read if you are struggling with hormone challenges at any stage of life.

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Profitable Pet Sitter: 7 Steps to Turn Your Passion for Pets into a Profitable Pet Sitting Business, by Melinda Walker

The blueprint for a successful part-time or full-time gig as a Profitable Pet Sitter!!
I’m drawn to any book and plan that allows the reader to move from an unfulfilled employee to a passionate entrepreneur. Melinda Walker has written such a book and provided the plan. Whether you want a side hustle, an additional stream of income, or a full-time gig as a pet sitter, this is the blueprint to get you there. Melinda reminds us that the key to profit is NOT more clients or more time spent working and to bet on yourself. Her tips walk you through setting up your business from scratch, how to set yourself apart with superior communication and customer service, and how not to overspend, especially in the beginning. If you love animals, want more freedom in your life, AND want to live with more passion and purpose, check out Profitable Pet Sitter!

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Build, Grow, and Monetize your Online Platform, by John Stange

“Start lean and start messy” and other great wisdom to build, grow, & monetize a purposeful platform!
I already had an online platform; however, I wanted to learn how to grow and monetize it. John’s book provides a blueprint to do just that.

Sprinkled amongst the pages are words of wisdom and encouragement to move past procrastination and put your dreams in motion. He reminds us it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, “start lean and start messy.” He shows us how to work efficiently and repurpose our valuable content.

If you want to add an income stream to your household or replace your current income with an online platform based on your passions and purpose, this book will help you succeed!\

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The Feel Good Business Model, by Scott Aaron and Nancy Evans-Aaron

Book Cover: The Feel Good Business ModelWhether you are in a season of life looking for more financial success or perhaps more personal well-being, Nancy and Scott deliver on their promise to “finish this book feeling empowered and inspired.” I finished feeling affirmed that I could be DONE with the hustle culture.

The feel-good business model guides the reader to build a business that matches their ideas of fun, freedom, and flexibility and makes them happy while balancing work and life. It is a model that allows you to focus on your core strengths and get in alignment with your authentic life while expenses stay in check and you keep a low overhead.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or optimizing your current business, this is a gold mind of nuggets that will assist.

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The Journey Continues: Stories of a Survivor, by Siah B Hagin
Struggles can leave us doubting, feeling broken & hopeless, and even questioning our faith. Siah knows how that feels and shares her story of survival, healing, and rediscovery through the art of poetry in The Journey Continues: Stories of a Survivor. (Amazon affiliate link)

The author shares with us her intimate, creative work as it unfolds through her journey from pain to purpose, to victory as she courageously proclaims “I’m still here!” She reminds us that the darkness of our life that we once thought would break us can be brought into the light as we find our voice, accept our wholeness, and share our pain so that others may be healed.

GUEST BLOG POST:  To Properly Self-Care, by Siah B. Hagin

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