It’s no secret that I love reading and writing about people’s stories. I’ve recently gone through three top-notch autobiographies from some of my favorite people in the entertainment industry. If you like them on-screen or on the radio, don’t hesitate to pick up or download a copy of their book. Enjoy!

The Magnolia Story (Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino)

Aren’t they the cutest? This book rewinds to the beginning of Chip and JoJo’s love story, which is just as sappy-sweet and comical as you would imagine. Both innovators at heart, Chip and Joanna take readers through the ups and downs of how they launched their one-of-a-kind careers, all while beautifully giving credit to God and His sovereign plan for their lives.

One of my favorite parts? The story of how Chip surprised JoJo by spending their extra money on a decrepit houseboat. This disastrous move on Chip’s part is what actually landed them a reality TV pilot.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham)

It sounds impossible, but I propose that you’ll walk away from this book loving Lauren Graham herself even more than the beloved Lorelai Gilmore or Sarah Braverman. Lauren is smart, witty, classy, down-to-earth, clean, funny, and oh so entertaining. You feel like she’s your best friend. (We ARE best friends, right, LG?) You’ll relish Lauren’s hilarious tales about skipping kindergarten, living on a houseboat, working in The Theatah (no thea-teeeer), being single (and why that’s okay), and of course, making Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.

One of my favorite parts? Advice from Old Lady Jackson. Lauren writes,

“Old Lady Jackson is a character I made up when I started catching myself giving advice–initially to Mae and Miles on the Parenthood set–that sounded like it came from your grayhaired grandma who spends her days in a rocking chair knitting your scratchy socks you pretend to love at Christmas. By creating this character, who was obviously very, very, very far away from myself, I hoped to confuse Mae and Miles, among others, into thinking that while I might sometimes seem to offer suggestions that could be considered a tad ‘old-timey,’ they weren’t actually coming from me…”

I think I have a little bit of “Old Lady Jackson” in myself, so this chapter was particularly comical to me. (Again, because Lauren and I are besties. Right?)

When God Doesn’t Fix It (Laura Story with Jennifer Schuchmann)

In contrast to the other two books I mentioned earlier, this autobiography carries a serious tone and many difficult truths. You might recognize the artist Laura Story from her radio hits like “Blessings” and “What a Savior,” but you probably don’t know about her personal hardships.

Laura began an unexpected journey only one year into her marriage, when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What initially seemed to be a “next surgery will fix it” situation turned into a realization that Laura’s husband would likely have serious memory issues for the rest of his life.

One of my favorite parts? Laura concludes each chapter with a myth and a truth. My favorite is, “MYTH: God can only use my story when there is a happy ending. TRUTH: God can use my story when I trust him in the journey.”

Laura tackles the topic of our “happily ever after” mindset, sharing how she learned to praise God in the midst of grievous trials.

•••

There you have it, friends! As always, I love to hear your thoughts on these books and on YOUR favorite biographies. Happy reading!

REFLECTIONS from a year of blogging

I have spent the past 12 months blogging for WMU’s “myMISSION” collegiate column. It’s been fun, challenging and–if I’m honest–convicting! Each month I had to stop, take an aerial view of my life and ask, “How have I been living on mission? Where am I sharing the Gospel? Am I being responsible and sharing the incredible gift that I’ve been given?” (Luke 12:48).

Sometimes blogging intimidated me because I’m not perfect. *Gasp!* What if I shared what God’s been teaching me, and then I messed up? How could I encourage others to not worry when I tend to worry myself?

Well, friends, God taught me a message that is both humbling and hopeful: We’re not perfect. He is. We fail. He doesn’t.

The beautiful thing about being a child of God is recognizing that we don’t always have it together, and that’s okay. God knows that we mess up, but He still wants to work through us!

Throughout this year, I’ve learned that blogging is best when it’s about real life. When I obey God, when I disobey God, when it’s easy or when it’s hard. Christians aren’t perfect robots. We are sinners saved by grace.

All that to say, I’ve pick out some of my favorite blogs and categorized them for you to look through! I hope you can relate to them and learn from my experience. Don’t forget, I always love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Enjoy!


EVANGELISM

Not Just Another School Subject

What if the Sunday School Answer Is True?

Working on Vacation

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

When It’s Easier to Give Up

Loving for the Long Run

A Small Me in a Big World

 

PRIORITIES

Forgetting Step 1 – Prayer

My Secret Gift

Brew a Cup of Real Love

dsRachel's Reads Header


The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

I. LOVE. This. Book. Kathryn Stockett knows how to bring a character to life. Her writing style is so spot-on, you feel like you’re having coffee with the characters instead of reading about them. I saw the movie first and thought, “Is it worth it to read the book since I already know the story?” The answer is yes! You won’t be disappointed.

Unknown


51d9Y9InwgL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies (Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell)

Talk about eye-opening! This story recounts Brenda Spahn’s improvised journey of ministering to women fresh out of prison by inviting them to live in her home. Now a nationally-recognized program, The Lovelady Center in Birmingham, Ala. has helped hundreds of women rebuild their lives and find hope in Jesus. The book is an easy read, packed with heartbreaking and inspirational stories.


Her Mother’s Hope (Francine Rivers)

Gather ‘round, all you historical fiction gu-ru’s. This is your dream book! Get ready to walk through a mother-daughter heritage, beginning in Switzerland in 1901 and continuing to America during World War II. A few years ago, my mom and I both read this book on a family vacation. We ended up sitting side-by-side on the couch with the book flipped open, each of us reading two different sections of it! So don’t share this novel with anyone, unless you want to end up as literary Siamese twins. It’s that good.

Her-Mothers-Hope_300


6700011

Holes (Louis Sachar)

Isn’t this a children’s/young adult book? Yes, yes it is. But it’s great. My friend Catherine is an elementary ed major, and she told me I was missing out if I hadn’t read Holes. She was right! Sachar uses all the good literary stuff—symbolism, mystery, motifs, foreshadowing, suspense… I could go on and on. Don’t let the 4.6 grade reading level stop you—it only makes binge-reading that much easier!


A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David (Beth Moore)

You know the books where you want to highlight every line? This is one of them. Dive deep into the rich, complicated life of King David with the incredible Beth Moore. A man who experienced both triumph and tragedy, David is a prime example of a flawed human who sought to glorify the Lord and walk with him in everyday life. The book is divided into 9 sections with a total of 52 chapters, making it the perfect format for a daily Bible study.

41sxRkRz3dL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_