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.

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

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Unfortunately, we only have 20 more days where it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. I’ve put together a playlist entitled “Mix & Match Christmas” with some of my favorite, lesser-known Christmas songs. While these songs may not be top 20 on the radio, they are fantastic and well-deserving of a download! Enjoy!

She has off-the-charts vocals. She can belt the high notes and rap to Lecrae. She’s been traveling through Europe touring with TobyMac. Oh, and she’s also 19 years old.
Meet Hollyn, the young artist who is already making her mark on the Christian music industry. In 2015 she released her self-titled EP, which shows off her incredible vocals in an upbeat, modern style of music.

RS: What is it like touring with TobyMac? What have you learned from him?

H: Touring with Toby has been incredible to say the least. He’s so much fun to be around. Diverse City has become my family, and I am so grateful to travel and be a part of this journey with them by my side. I’ve learned so much from their years of experience, and they are helping me become the artist and leader I need to be.

RS: You are 19 years old. What are the benefits and challenges of pursuing a singer-songwriter career at such a young age?

H: The benefits of being so young and being an artist is the opportunity to see the world and singing for a living. I mean, how many people get to do what they love for a living? I’m truly blessed and the Lord is faithful. It’s also challenging because I barely have time to see my family or friends from home, but I keep in touch and FaceTime has become the best way to do that for now. Everything has pros and cons, and I’m trying the best I can to balance it out.

RS: How did your experience on American Idol (Season 12) shape your music career?

H: My experience on American Idol showed me that I wasn’t ready at the time to dedicate my life to something I didn’t believe in. I didn’t know who I was as an artist, so I went home and made an effort to figure that out. That’s when I met Toby, and accepted the fact that God was calling me to do this.

RS: Did you ever consider producing secular music?

H: To me, great music is being transparent and honest. Whether that’s about my relationship with Jesus, how my heart has been broken by a boy, friendship, or a track that I love because it just makes me feel good. If you craft songs intentionally and speak from the heart, people will listen.

RS: How is your music distinctive within the Christian genre?

H: I have an incredible team that allows me to write music I’m passionate about. My goal is to create a sound and brand that is fresh and unique. Something that people my age are drawn to and that speaks to a generation called to be different.

RS: When did you first become interested in rap?

H: I’ve always listened to rap music, but I recently stated attempting to rap about 3 years ago. I wouldn’t call myself a “rapper” but I love having fun with it.

RS: How has your family supported you throughout this journey?

H: My family has supported me through every aspect of life. Music or no music. They love me for who I am in Christ and as their daughter/sister. They’ve traveled, invested their time, and loved me unconditionally. I am eternally grateful for them.

RS: What are your plans for the future?

The future excites me. Five years ago I was sitting in school day dreaming about singing on stage for a living, and now I get to travel the world with TobyMac. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring.

To learn more about Hollyn and her music, visit iamhollyn.com and follow her on Twitter at @iamhollyn.

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