TopBooks I Read in 2016 – linkup

Here’s to the books I read through in 2016. If this was a list of all the books I started…and am still ‘in process’ on it would be much longer. I tend to read a fair amount of non-fiction and since they are usually things I need to ponder for a bit, they get left on the side for a bit. I also have a very bad habit of finding books that others mention and adding it to my Kindle right away…so I get distracted from what I’m reading at that moment and find myself diving into something else.

These are some of the books that I will be holding on to to read again:

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by [Cron, Ian Morgan, Stabile, Suzanne]
This was one of the best written books on the Enneagram I’ve come across. I read it in a week and now have gone back to read it again, underlining and making notes. Cron indicates that he wanted to make a ‘primer’ about the Enneagram and it is accessible and a key resource for those wanting to know more about personality and what makes others function as they do. I don’t normally read books that EVERYONE is talking about, but this peaked my interest. It will be on my bookshelf for a long while.


I first read about this book on ‘Book of the Month’. It ended up being a good price so I downloaded it since I was intrigued. This book BLEW MY MIND. Seriously. I took English Literature in University, I have read countless books and at the end of Part One, the author dropped a bombshell and I didn’t see coming at all. I was appalled that I hadn’t picked it up. I didn’t know if I should finish the rest of the book since I had assumed so much in the first part. It was a difficult second part, going into the reasons behind many of the choices made in part one, and when I finished I shook my head. I still couldn’t believe I fell for the assumptions she lures you into creating in your head. Skillful written, this is a mystery writer that doesn’t use a predictable outline, but instead leaves the reader blindsided several times.
All the Pretty Things: The Story of a Southern Girl Who Went through Fire to Find Her Way Home by [Wadsworth, Edie]
I believe this book was recommended by Emily Freeman as one of the best books she had read in one of her end of the month summations. I didn’t know of Edie or anything about her story. It was stunning, in a good and awful way. Edie lived a very difficult life growing up, and even in recent years has been through many tragic circumstances. The byline of her book states “the story of a Southern Girl who went through fire to find her way home” and indeed there is a refining aspect to this story, but also such redemption as well.  I am so thankful for Edie’s willingness to share so vulnerably about her life growing up, as well as the challenges she has faced in more recent life. An excellent memoir.

This beautiful compilation contains the writing of many people who are near and dear to my heart. It is marketed as ‘Stories of redemption’ and indeed the stories are quite vulnerably shared, and yet full of such hope. I believed in this project for a long time, and am a fierce supporter of Cara and her writing, so was beyond excited to see the book come to fruition. The stories shared within resonated deeply with me. Some of the individuals I had heard from before, and others were new to me. There were some voices that I decided to read more from after reading their excerpt in this book. The chapters are short and each story stands alone.


Keep Quiet by [Scottoline, Lisa]

There is a reason that Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author. She writes a great thriller. This story was masterfully woven together and the end was fascinating. I had anticipated that things were not as they seemed, but it was interesting to see her bring it all together. I will definitely be reading more from her.
Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by [Reay, Katherine]
This is another one of those books that had EVERYONE talking. I believe it was Reay’s first or second novel. It is her take on Pride and Prejudice and wonderfully done. I loved that it was composed of letters detailing her journeys. I love the way that it all came together in the end. It was masterfully done in her own unique way. This is another novel that I believe I will find myself reading again soon.

Linking up over a Kate’s with what we’ve read this year.





My words have been few as of late. I am going to attempt to write for five minutes.


I’ve got my white flag raised. I’ve attached it to a branch I found laying across the path. And white…well it used be white. Its more of a murky grey color.

I’ve dragged it though the dirt a time or two on my journey here. Tripping my way over rocks and stones littering the pathway.

And its waving. Well its moving. It hard to tell if I am signalling defeat or a warning of what is to come.

Because I’m new on this journey. The maps long gone and my compass broke a few miles back.

Do you know where I am? Who I am?

I would like to surrender.





The thing with Masquerade balls is that everyone comes with a mask. And at some point, everyone’s identity is revealed.
In a sense the past couple months feel like the ball. I’ve been holding onto that mask for all I’m worth…and its about to be grabbed from my face and my full identity revealed.

Because you see…my birthday is on Wednesday. And people will wish me happy birthday. Which in itself is not a bad thing. But there are those who suppose that I’m younger than I am in actuality, and they are in for the shock of their lives. Well…perhaps only one person in particular.

Its been one of those dances, where you’re in a round and you start off with your partner and then they move to the next person in the round and so forth until you find yourselves on opposite ends of the room, seemingly having a great time with other partners but not quite sure when it is that you’ll be flung together again. But the things is…you only know the person based on the identity you chose when you came to the ball…and your short stint dancing together doesn’t reveal a whole lot about anything deeper than appearances.


This dance, has been a long one. It seems to go on forever. Or maybe its just the ball that seems to go on forever. I’m not one for a crush of guests, but when I entered and saw you, it was like all the dancing partners that I’ve been bridge burned by showed up in ghost form, or at least haunted me in memories of things left unsaid, and moments that have dug deeply into my heart with bitterness festering. Though you left me reeling and confused, I felt I could be myself…though I’m sure there was still the illusion. You can wear and mask and reveal yourself truly, without ripping all the wounds clear and clean, and revealing who you are beneath what looked like a gaudy painted on face anyway.


The thing about the masquerade is that everyone can mingle. And most people are there to be someone else for the night. And while you’re not mine, for some reason I’ve taken a shine to you and my eyes follow you around the room. All those ghosts have sat themselves down at my table, and began to regale themselves with tales of what has been and the missteps I’ve taken on the dance floor of life. They mock this enchantment as just another mask to stash away one day in a closet full of dreams hidden behind other facades. And though I’m a lost cause, even to myself, I see my blood boil and my face color with jealousy and betrayal, when neither of these are your weapons but rather the poisoning of my own mind.


Tomorrow, I’ll wake up with aching heels, my feet sore from the dance floor. And I’ll see my mask sitting on the table next to my bed. And I’ll know that there is a place for this mask next to the others I’ve had stashed away. Reality hurts too much anyway. There should always be something to hide behind. Perhaps my age is where I’ll start.

#FMF – Heal

Hello friends.

its been some time since I wrote here. Since I even joined with the link-up. Its a little late, as they next fmfparty is this evening…but I’m giving it a go.

I am thankful for the community found in this group. It has literally been one of the biggest things that’s kept me going through the past couple years.

Joining up with Kate and writing for five minutes and just letting the words tumble out on the page…has been incredibly cathartic. Linking up has had me seeing what has been on others minds on the same or completely different vein, yet united by the same word.

write on friend.

Prompt: Heal

I do not completely know what has dried up the words that used to flow so on the page. I have lots of ideas, lots of things i’m working through or thinking through, and yet every time I sit down to type them out…my fingers are stilled. I can’t seem to find the words, though they are literally in my mouth, and choking me.

I have been thinking of many things over the past months, but there have been a couple that have stayed with me for awhile.

I went to a baseball game with a guy that I had a crush on, the whole situation had me freaking out and rehashing alot of pain from my past relationship wise. The day before we were to hang out, I was talking with a friend and I have no idea what exactly she said, but God’s peace just poured into the situation, and I felt like this might be a good experience for me and something I could do without all that baggage. We ended up having a great time, and have since become friends. I am thankful for this surprise blessing. But it also revealed to me how much pain is still in my heart from past relationships.

A year or so ago, I wrote about the loss of several friendships in my life that left me reeling. That is still the case for at least one of them. There is healing and forgiveness that needs to happen in all of them, but one is still so deep its almost toxic to touch. I’m trying to get rid of that toxicity. its only hurting me. But recently in the past year, I have lost another friend who I thought was going to be a close friend. I’m not sure what happened, besides life getting in the way, but it feels like there is a great chasm between us. However, this summer through a series of events I found myself in a small group of women of whom I wouldn’t have picked them to be friends with, but who have ended up being what I needed and some of the most genuine and upfront people i’ve ever met. My people pleasing heart needed to be reminded of speaking up for myself and setting boundaries, among other things learned this summer. i also was just given the opportunity to hang out with some girls at church that I have known only casually but am no going to get to know more deeply as friends. The idea to sit on the porch and drink coffee together on a saturday morning came out of the blue…and I quickly snatched it up. I’m not sure what God has planned, but I am excited for that as well.

I’m sure that some of what is closing my mouth is things like fear that i’m letting have more power than i should. but there is power in the overcoming. and stepping out and evening taking one step…is one less thing to fear about because you’ve done something and you’ve lived. I’m trying to seek healing over here friends…i want it to be quick, but i’m pretty sure its a life long thing. its tiring carrying all this around, when it wasn’t meant to be baggage or mine to carry ever.

love you


five minute friday


FMF – Rest

Good evening and welcome to the Thursday evening where we link up at Kate’s place for the Five Minute Friday gathering. Five minutes of writing, without editing on one topic. All of us spreading our thoughts out on the page…and see what flies from our fingers.

prompt: Rest

I have been in a period of rest that is unexpected and found myself wasting away the time. I quit my job at Starbucks and moved to work at a smaller cafe. Its been quite a change and I”m still in transition. But the change is this…I gave two weeks notice and was given one week of work. Thankfully my new boss had tentatively scheduled me for a couple shifts this past week or else I would have had an entire week of unplanned vacation.

As a result I’ve worked a couple of half days but then had several other days off. Its been a bit disconcerting because the other times I’ve had such wide swathes of time available for myself, I had planned what I was going to do with my time. So i have puttered about and done very little that is helpful, but I have had some downtime which is necessary since the past several months have been hugely stressful in my life.

I wonder if all of this reflects that fact that perhaps I’ve forgotten what it is to truly rest. to find rest, to stay in that rest, to find renewal and restoration in that rest. One of the areas i find it hardest to rest in is in my mind. it seems to always be going a mile a minute and I have a hard time trying to relinquish what i think i have on my plate or the worry that consumes me and just rest in Him. I think that I’ve glanced at and perhaps experienced moments where I’ve known this rest, but they are few and far between.

rest is something that i long for. something that when i hear the word or read it in a sentence my mind and soul immediately jump up with a resounding ‘yes’ to experience. having it put into practice on the other hand is a much different experience.

Here is to finding ways to truly soul rest this year. to breathe Him in deeply and to have him calm my mind and my heart.


five minute friday


why are you here?

I am more of a reader than a writer. Perhaps I’m writer too, I just haven’t given myself permission to claim those words yet.

When I was at Festival of Faith and Writing in April, I was asked by several individuals at different publishing houses (as I perused their books) if I was a writer. I answered that I write a little but I’m more of a reader and I see myself as a champion of those who write. I was asked by one person what kinds of things I was reading and I struggled to find an answer because I often have several books on the go. I mentioned that I was still working through Seth Haines’ book ‘Coming Clean’ and really loving it.

But in that question of ‘Are you a writer’ and my answer in the negative, I felt like a bit of interest was lost. I even felt like they were saying, ‘Well, why are you here then?’ those those words were never spoken out loud (but rather in my own head). And in some sense I felt like i was on the periphery, yet another place that I didn’t belong. But there were those who I spent time with at the Festival that helped me to see differently, to know differently. With whom I felt loved, and accepted simply how I was. I am so thankful for those few who were part of that for me.

I am blessed to know of (and have met) many people who are gifted beyond words when it comes to laying down words. There are some perhaps that I compare myself, though I don’t know if I could put names down right off the top of my head. However, there are those who when I see that they have written I know that my heart will sink deep into their words and it will be a vehicle to speak to my soul.

Weather these incredibly gifted individuals become a household name or not, I am so blessed to be able to be on their side, reading their work and cheering them on to use their gifts.

There are many areas of life in which I’ve often felt that I don’t measure up. perhaps claiming the title of writer is one of them. But I do sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard and there are things recorded for future retrieval but I’m not sure that I can claim that as true writing yet.

#FMF – Haven

Joining with the crew over at Kate’s who write every Thursday night/Friday morning (and throughout the week) on a one word prompt for five minutes. I love this community. It is my safe place. I am so thankful for them.

prompt: HAVEN

As I sit down to my computer and wait for it to load, I think of this community, this safe place. I’ve only been gathering here for a couple years but it just feels like family.

From the first moment that I got up my courage to say hi and enter into chatting on Thursday nights, I haven’t looked back. There have been seasons in which I have been unable to gather with the others, or haven’t been able to follow through on the prompt, but the most important thing that I’ve learned in this community (and tried to share with others as they join) is that GRACE is lavished here.

Last summer, this group of people met together (well some of us, it is a LARGE beautiful (and handsome (ANDREW! and other fellows)) community.) And while I was nervous, I didn’t really feel fear, because I felt like I knew these people. Like I was gathering for an awesome weekend with old friends.

And as we settled in, and found our way into cozy chairs with cold water in hand (or coffee depending on the person), walls began to drop and we were ourselves more fully than I think I’ve experienced more than anywhere else. What a blessing to be known and to be loved.

It has always been a challenge for me to believe that I’m part of a group. To know that my presence isn’t merely tolerated, but enjoyed. and indeed, in THIS place, I have found this. I have found a haven.

Thank you FMF community. I love you.