Favorite Books of 2013


Here is a list of my favorite books I read in 2013. Enjoy!


Practical Theology for Women. A short, quick read, but chock full of wisdom. Don’t let the word “theology” throw you off. This book is intensely practical!







Women Living Well. Practical, Biblical, and fun to read, this book is for every woman who wants encouragement to pursue a life well lived in all areas of life!








Crazy Busy. A short and insightful look at how life around us has gotten so busy, what we can do about it, and how to make sure we are busy with the right things.







Half Broke Horses. I really enjoyed Jeanette Walls’ first book, The Glass Castle, and this book was no different. It is a true to life novel about her grandmother, and she was quite a woman!

*There are things in this book that I would not deem “clean” and so I offer a reader’s warning.







The Prodigal God. Profound, life-changing, thought-provoking. I am a fan of Tim Keller’s books because they are simple, meaty, and Gospel-centered.







Hands down my favorite fiction read this year. The Secret Keeper was a beautiful tale of intrigue, mystery, beauty and family. Set in England, it was just the thing for this Anglo-phile. *Again, this one has a few things in it that were not clean, so read at your own risk.*





This book is the reason that I didn’t get much other fiction reading done this year. The Count of Monte Cristo was a fascinating story {nothing like the movie} and I loved every moment of reading it. It took a long time, but it was worth it!








Glimpses of Grace. A must read for every mom looking to treasure Christ in the midst of the mundane!







Galatians for You is a commentary that reads like a devotional. I really enjoyed this meaty, yet simple, book.











Quick read, but oh so good. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is a convicting look at self-centeredness and how the Cross can set us free.







I actually don’t understand the title of this book at all, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Fit to Burst. I like the simplicity and no-nonsense style that Rachel uses in this book. She writes from the motherhood trenches, and it is good stuff.





If you want more book talk,

check out the book thread on the Facebook page

read my favorite books from last year

and here is a complete list of what I read this year.

What were your favorite books this year? Tell me in the comments!

Be Who You Are {Because He Loves Me Week 7}

This week we are working through Chapter 7 of Because He Loves Me. Thank you for grace as I struggled through long power outages last week. We are still in the midst of them, but God is good!
So let’s begin…..

In the chapters up till now, we’ve been reading about the wonderful truths found in the gospel, and how they can transform our thinking, hearts, and our identity. As Elyse says  at the beginning of this chapter, “We’re going to be shifting from looking primarily a how God’s love transforms us at the level of our identity to how it transforms our daily life.”

She goes on to say, “please remember that your growth in holiness is firmly bound to your appreciation of the gospel and God’s love, for it is only an appreciation of his love that can motivate genuine obedience.”
The theme of this chapter is, “Be who you are.” What does that mean? It brings to us the “beautiful balance between the indicative (who you are in Christ) and the imperative (who you’re becoming in Christ).” Meaning, what God through Christ has already proclaimed you to be, married with how you are being transformed in the things God in Christ has called you to become.
It is a “…beautiful synergy that not only tells us what to do, but also plants within our souls the only motive that will empower God-pleasing compliance: what God has already done. We’ve already been forgiven in Christ.”
Essentially, we learn how to mesh what we are in Christ with the expectations for holy living he has for us. Elsye says is this way, “The wonderful pronouncements God has made about us cannot and must not be disconnected from the wonderful expectations he has of us. In other words, gospel-declaration must not be severed from gospel-obligation.”
It is through the lens of grace and only through the lens of grace that we can and should pursue holiness and the good works that is mentioned in Titus 2:12-14
“The grace of God trains us to renounce ungodliness, live temperate, godly lives, and be zealous for good works. Yes, God rules sovereignly, and in the life of his beloved ones he rules with sovereign grace, mercy, and love. But we mustn’t assume that his grace trumps the expectation that we should be holy, for he is holy and his Holy Spirit indwells us. Yes, God is sovereign over our sanctification, but recognition of that truth doesn’t excuse us from zealously pursuing it.” see Phil 2:12-13
I learned a lot from this chapter, and as I continue to study through this book, my thinking and heart is being continually transformed.
How about you? What are you learning?
What were you challenged by in the chapter this week? How do you find your heart and mind being transformed by God’s Word?
You are welcome to join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments, or if you are a blogger, you can link up a blog post below.
Join us next week at Grace Laced as Ruth takes us through Chapter 8!

Because He Loves Me {week 6}

I am popping in quick today to let you know that my post won’t be going up for this week. We are in the midst of daily {long} power outages, and I am not going to be able to get a post up!

Thank you for grace!
If you want to link up YOUR post below, please do! Join us next week at GraceLaced.

Because He Loves Me Book Study Week 5 {at GraceLaced!}


This week we are reading and discussing Chapter 5 of Because He Loves Me. Is it changing your heart and your thinking? It certainly is for me! Join Ruth at GraceLaced today as she shares her thoughts from this chapter!

Also, we would love to have you join the conversation! If you are a blogger, write a blog post with your thoughts and link up here or at GraceLaced. If not, feel free to join in the comments over at GraceLaced.

Live in the light of your true inheritance today, friends!


The Verdict {Because He Loves Me Book Study Week 4}

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

We are on Chapter 4 in our book study of Because He Loves Me here and at GraceLaced. Are you loving it as much as I am? It’s not too late to join us! Buy your book here.

I woke up this morning and the electricity was already off. It never came back on all day, and so, sadly, the never-plan-ahead-Joy is without a post and has a house full of hungry people. I am dripping with sweat, and only have a moment, but I want to say a few words about this, my favorite chapter of this book.

When I first read this book last year, this chapter is the one that finally allowed it all to sink in. It was my AHA moment. 

I knew it all in my head. Very well. But it had yet to sink way down into my heart, and fill and flood it. That’s what this chapter did. It took the gospel and sunk it down deep to my toes.

These two quotes were what spoke to my heart:

“He bore God’s wrath for every time when we knew we shouldn’t speak the way we were about to speak, but did it anyway. He received the righteous sentence for every unkind, lustful, selfish, wrathful, covetous, apathetic, vain, proud, dishonest, perverse thought, word, and deed that has ever proceeded from our hearts. The Father poured out all his wrath on His Son.” pg.70


Several of those adjectives describe me. That is what His blood paid for. My ugly, ugly sin.

And this quote makes me want to whoop and holler:


“Jesus’ perfect record has become ours. Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus’ perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who

  • always does the things that are pleasing to him;
  • is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food;
  • doesn’t seek your own will but seeks his will instead;
  • doesn’t seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others;
  • has always kept all his commandments;
  • lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others;
  • loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis;
  • lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavenly Father more than anything else;
  • seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.
In God’s opinion (the only one that matters!) that’s your record today.” pg.73
I find that totally astounding, don’t you?
The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. If I try to be satisfied in my own accomplishments or identity, I’ll never know the comfort he promised.” pg.75
Scriptures that speak to me through this chapter are: 2 Corinthians 5:17-19,21, 1 Peter 3:18,Romans 8:3,4.
I pray this week that you and I would be blessed, be astounded, be overwhelmed by our verdict this week. The one that should say guilty, but instead says, innocent. 
How about you? What are you learning? Please feel free to comment below or link up a post if you are a blogger. Next week we will study chapter 5 with Ruth at Grace Laced!

Have You Forgotten Your Identity? {Because He Loves Me Book Study Week 2}


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith….For whoever lack these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleanse from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:5,9

I am a quote girl. I have this entire chapter heavily underlined, and so, instead of me trying to explain, I am just going to share what I am learning through meaningful quotes!

Take some time to really read these quotes and let them sink down deep.

Chapter 2 is called Identity Amnesia. What is that? 

The epidemic is seen is serious Christian book that focus on improving our outer behaviors such as communication skills or self-discipline, or even overcoming sin, without much reference to God’s love for us or his ongoing work in us. It’s seen in the hymns and choruses we sing in which we declare our determination to follow Christ without a mention of his determination to cause us to do so.” 

Even though we believe the gospel, the occasions in which the gospel (the incarnation, sinless life, death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God) actually intersect and powerfully affect our daily life are infrequent.”

“We assent to these precious truths about Scripture but we frequently find ourselves living life like practical atheists.”

“How has the gospel defined and shaped you?”

“Most of us view God’s love and the gospel as elementary topics meant to get us in the front door of faith, and they are that. But we’ve forgotten how these truths are also to transform us every moment of every day.”

“This kind of disconnect between our stated beliefs–my identity is that I’m one who’d been loved immeasurably by God and am one with him–and our practical beliefs–my identity and self-worth are determined by whether I’m popular, respected, a winner, and well-fed…”

“[When we understand the gospel] We’ll love God because he has first and marvelously loved us, and this love will overflow to others as well (I John 4:8-9). These gospel truths are not insignificant, something only for beginners. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) The gospel message–you have been cleansed from sin–is the pinnacle of God’s loving work in the world, and just as it is this work that saves us, it is also this work that transforms and sustains us. The gospel is the message that must remain paramount throughout all our life.”

“‘Who are you?’ with the answer, ‘A child of God!’ but that’s a truth that must be pressed into our consciousness every moment of every day. When dissed by our friends, when we’re struggling with pain, when falling into sin (again!), we’re still his children. And that is the most important thing about who were are. God has graciously chosen, adopted, and sealed us for his own glory. He is giving himself to us, and if we’re not distracted by our self-efforts and self-trust, we will respond by defining ourselves by that love. Who are you? You’re his, he is yours, and you’ve been cleansed from sin. And that’s all the identity any of us need.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened….through his flesh….let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Hebrews 10:19-22

“He has called us, ‘Be Mine.’” If you’re his child, he wants to assure you of his unchangeable love for you and your place in him even now. We can boldly respond to him in the full assurance that he really does love us, that he really has welcome us to himself and made us his own.” 

This chapter has given me a lot to think about. I am speechless. 

Questions for reflection and discussion:

-What most impacted you in this chapter?

-Have you suffered from Identity Amnesia?

-Are these truths from the gospel impacting your life every day?

How do you join the conversation? Two options:

*Leave a comment below, and feel free to discuss with others there!

*Write a blog post either answering these questions or with your own reactions to the chapter, and link up your blog post below! (Remember to add the title and url for the specific post and not your blog url and name. Thanks!)

(It’s not too late to read along. If you haven’t purchased a copy of the book, you can do so here.)

 Join us again next week as Ruth over at GraceLaced discusses Chapter 3!

The Gospel {Because He Loves Me Book Study, Week 1}

Dear friends, I am so excited to begin this book study with you this week! Today is the day we begin to study the book, Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It’s not too late to join us! You can get your book here.

This book will change your life, your perspective, and your heart. Why? Because it is drenched in God’s truth as found in the wonderful gospel. The Gospel really does transform….

I invite you to join the book study today at Grace Laced, where Ruth is hosting. She shares her thoughts and insights on the Intro and Chapter 1, and has invited you to do the same!

We would love to hear your thoughts, so please share with us! You can leave a comment at Grace Laced if you don’t have a blog, or if you have a blog, link up your post at GraceLaced or below.

Sisters, I am so excited to begin this journey with you!

Free E-book- Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood

I am really excited to give you a special gift, a free e-book, Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood!

This ebook is filled with encouragement for mothers, biblical wisdom, practical helps, and several print outs to help you on your journey of mothering well. This book is for every mother who needs vision, encouragement, and a breath of fresh air breathed into their mothering!

It is full of wisdom I have gleaned from my own experience, from my study of the Bible, and from drawing on the wisdom of godly mentors who have gone before me.

I hope and pray that this ebook will help you feel encouraged, empowered, and fulfilled in your job as a mom. There are devotions and simple challenges peppered throughout to help you solidify what you read. Here is a screenshot of some of what you will find inside:


I am so thankful for all of you, my faithful readers, so this is my gift to you, my dear subscribers!

Here is how you get the ebook:

1.Take a moment to subscribe to Grace Full Mama, if you have not already done so. You can also just enter your email address here:

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner


2. Check your email and confirm your subscription.

3. When a new post comes to your feed or email, you will find the link at the very bottom of that {and all} posts. Here is where you will find the link for the ebook. See the circle and the arrow at the bottom:

















*If the link does not work for you, please email me at thegracefullmama @ gmail dot com and I will send you the direct link!*

4. Be patient, it takes a few moments to download!

5. That’s it! Enjoy! Questions? Feel free to email with questions!

100 Pound Loser {A Review}

I remember the day I first met Jessica in person. 2 years ago, at Sarah Mae’s house, Jessica walked in. I knew I loved her from the very beginning. She was funny, engaging, stylish, and friendly from the moment we met. That is exactly the Jessica you meet in the pages of this book. This book is a simple, fun, engaging, and immensely helpful read for the person who is ready to make a change, but is overwhelmed on how to begin. Jessica is honest about her own struggles and puts the reader right at ease. She takes the guess work out of how to lose weight and offers a simple, no nonsense plan on how to reach your goal {and a pretty awesome after photo for inspiration!}.

If this is the year that you are committed to getting healthy and need some guidance and encouragement, 100 pound loser is the book you want. It is a quick read, but don’t let that fool you, it is full of wisdom and practical tips on helping you feel great and get healthy. I loved it because she is a real mom, with a real life, 4 kids, and can’t spend hours in the gym, nor can she spend thousands of dollars on specialty foods. This is a plan for every woman, a do-able plan, wise encouragement, and honesty.

I hope you love it as much as I did!

To buy the book, just head over to the 100poundloser page or get it at Amazon.

*I was given a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. But to be honest, I would have bought it anyway.*

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