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12 Books of 2021

A Bookshelf Bigger than Our TVs

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

I wasn't always a good reader.

Actually, of the three of us siblings, I was the worst reader.

I was the only student in my first grade class who didn't have enough reading points for the prize.

Well, correction. I didn't have enough points for a prize. Big difference.

My teacher's black cashmere sweater caught my tears and her gentle hand patted my back.

Fast forward a few years, and fourth grade turned out to be a pivotal year for me many ways.

One, I got a terrible hair cut and have never found the courage to cut my hair above my collarbone again, but that's a story for another time...

There was a lot going on for 4th grade Candace, but one good thing I remember is actually enjoying a chapter book.

It was The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles written by Julie Andrews. I only picked it up because it was Julie Andrews and I thought she was truly magical as Mary Poppins.

My fourth grade logic went like this -

This is a really thick book...

But, this is written by the lady who jumped into sidewalk paintings and laughed on the ceiling and danced on the rooftops...

Okay, I'll give it a try.

And, y'all, I loved it! I read the whole thing myself, which was a relief to my mom who would spend the night before an AR deadline reading books like White Fang with me.

Ah, a mother's love, y'all.

I share this only to say if reading doesn't come easy for you or even fun for you, I get that.

But, maybe, just maybe, you're not reading the right books.

I once read somewhere - Never trust a man whose TV is larger than his bookshelf.


Even if we read or listen digitally, the concept is still convicting.

And inspiring.

So I set out this last year to read at least one book a month, and now I want to share my favorites with you!

12. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

In the last couple years, I've started a new tradition of beginning every year with this book. The story of Corrie's family risking their own lives to serve and protect Jews during WW2 is powerful. She's a woman I look forward to meeting in heaven one day. Her dad, too. Based on the wisdom he spoke into her life, you can tell he spent time with Jesus.

She was a woman who lived with incredible compassion and purpose.

I read it every year because I figure only God knows what the year will hold, and more than anything, I want to remember to stay with Him and find my refuge and strength and hiding place in Him alone.

Consider joining me in reading this book this January. You'll be blessed, I know it.

11. Dream Big by Bob Goff

Bob brings his unique perspective to challenge and grow us and make us laugh out loud. (Maybe even snort!) Because friend...

“You were born to be brave. Act like it. Live in this truth.” - Bob Goff, Dream Big

10. Seamless by Angie Smith

Intimidated to read the Bible? Angie's your girl! In her fun and relatable way, she helps you walk through the entire Bible in just 6 weeks and see how every story is connected with a single thread.

9. Captivate - The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards

If you're one for skipping intro's, you'd really be missing out on this one. Hands down, best intro I’ve ever read. From first impressions and facial expressions to how to move in a room, she even shares a fool-proof way to tell if someone is lying. Y'all! Once you see it, you can't unsee it!

8. I Said This, You Heard That by Kathleen Edelman

I said this, you heard that. Y'all. This happens ALL THE TIME! In our homes, our work places, our churches, our grocery stores - everywhere. Good communication - it's essential and it starts by understanding your temperament.

I believe in this book so much all of my immediate family received this book from me this year. I handed it to them and said, "Trust me. You'll thank me later."

7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White As a teacher, I read this book every year to my students. We’d get lost in the goose’s talk, Templeton’s bluntness, Wilbur’s innocence and Charlotte’s kindness. Now, I don’t have 25 kindergarteners around me, but I can’t not read this one. It’s my personal belief that anyone who wants to be a good writer should be a good reader first - and you should start with this gem. The way E.B. White brings the ordinary moments to life inspires me again and again every year.

6. Love Lives Here by Maria Goff

We may be more familiar with her husband, Bob Goff, but Maria is a woman you want to know. I felt like I was sitting in a rocking chair in the valley of Southern California, talking with a good friend. Maria has that way with words.

5. The Magnolia Cookbook by Joanna Gaines

Y'all, Jo knows. If you've been following on Insta, you know I've been making my way through her cookbook, and it does not disappoint!

4. When Women Pray by T.D. Jakes

The women in scripture may have lived in a different time but our hearts experience the same longing. Thankful for this reminder of the strength that is found on our knees.

3. Sacred Search by Gary Thomas

When we're single, we can become consumed with finding "the one." But, what if it's not so much about who you marry but why you get married in the first place?

2. Daring to Hope by Katie Davis

Katie is a modern-day Corrie Ten Boom. She's found her hiding place in Jesus and seeks the sacred over the temporary as she serves her husband, twelve adopted daughters, son and the people in her community in Uganda.

Read her story and practice hope for yourself.

1. Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire This is a Top 5 book for me. The thing I love about Ken's writing is it's all hard-won. He's genuine. He can write about it because he's lived it. He's experienced it.

May I suggest pairing this book with a box of kleenex and a handy highlighter? It's one that will stay with you, my friend.

Reading cultivates curiosity. Let's be curious and intentionally choose to learn from people who have fruit present in their lives. In doing this, our strength builds and our joy is renewed. Making time to read uplifting stories offers peace that God is moving all around us, and we are able to rest in His truth and connection with others.

P.S. Learn how you can soothe the wintry sinus pressure with this simple tea/lemonade drink.

The amount of lemonade is up to you. I like to fill half my mug with lemonade and top it off with water. Heat, steep tea, then enjoy!

Buh-bye sinus pressure!

If I can do it, you can do it, too! Whatcha say? Let’s try that...sinus pressure soother!

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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