I’m an avid reader. I’m always reading about three to five books at a time, sometimes more, and usually more than 100 books a year. As a podcast host for Your Hope-Filled Perspective, I often have the pleasure of sharing life changing stories of authors and sharing their books with my audience. I’m also frequently asked to endorse books. And then I just enjoy the pleasure of immersing myself in a new read.
My annual recommended reading list post (updated for 2021) has become a favorite to many as they begin to think about Christmas gifts for others, and books to add on their reading list for the upcoming year. Below are some of my favorite books I’ve read over the past year. And if you enjoy reading, I’d love to hear your favorite reads from the past year in the comments below!
If you need more ideas for Christmas gift shopping, check out my other recent posts: 70 Top Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Teens, Adults & In-Laws and 61 Great Christmas Gifts for 2021 that You Can Find on Amazon.
Read all the way to the bottom of the post for a Book Giveaway!
Best New Children’s Book to Teach Children the Alphabet
Farm to Film by Hannah Miles Pierrou
Farm to Film is a sweet children’s book that takes the young reader on an adventure through the alphabet using beautiful illustrations of farm animals, geometric designs, and lyrical prose. Hannah Pierrou uses beautiful watercolor to invite the young reader in to learn their alphabet as they “visit the farm.” This is a wholesome book that parents will be delighted to read to their young children. If you don’t have any young children or grandchildren at home, remember this book as a perfect gift for the next baby shower invite. A children’s library is a must for every new parent. Buy on Amazon
*Read to the bottom of this post to enter the book giveaway for the book, Farm to Film.
Best Children’s Book to Teach Them About the Life of Jesus
Sandy and Flopper’s Great Adventure: Walking the Roads with Jesus by Peg Stormy Bradley
Sandy and Flopper’s Great Adventure tells children the story of Jesus’ ministry, His miracles, and His crucifixion. It’s told from the perspective of the sandals that protected Jesus’ feet during His ministry. These loveable characters share what they witnessed along the many miles they walked with Jesus. Your children are sure to love these characters and learn about Jesus along the way. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book to Encourage Your Heart During Painful Times
Lifted: Encouragement in Hard Times by Donna Fagerstrom
How is your encouragement tank doing? Well, here is a book that will help fill your encouragement tank to full while lifting your spirits. Donna Fagerstrom has written a book to bring you from disappointment, discouragement, fear, hurt, pain, bad news, broken relationships, failure, stress, and so much more to a place of healing and restoration. God’s promises and her personal experiences will encourage and bless you as you are brought from sinking down in despair from hard times to being lifted up with the truth of God’s word. This book is a healing balm to a hurting heart. I have gifted several copies of this book, and you’ll want to as well. Buy on Amazon
Best Book for Finding Joy Through Journaling
The Joy Box Journal by Adria Wilkins
I had the opportunity to interview Adria Wilkins on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective Podcast about how to find joy in the midst of life’s painful situations and what I found was a woman with CONTAGIOUS joy! If you missed that episode, you can listen here Hope for Discovering Joy in the Midst of Pain – Episode 94. Adria is the author of The Joy Box Journal which is a wonderful book filled with inspirational devotions and a perfect place for reflection on journaling pages. Adria thought of everything by including an easy-to-assemble joy box for putting your joy notes in. The Joy Box Journal offers forty bite-sized stories, Scripture, and inspiring quotes that show how joy can be found in any situation. Record your journey in the journal, jot moments of joy on the included notepads, and tuck those notes in the joy box for safe-keeping for years to come. Buy on Amazon
Best Book to Help Couples Plan a Purposeful Life and Grow Closer in the Process
Marriage Meetups: A Planner for Couples Who Want a Productive, Passionate and Purposeful Life by Bill & Pam Farrel
Bill and Pam Farrel have an amazing marriage ministry called LoveWise. They were guests on the Valentine’s Day episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective Podcast this year and offered great tips for keeping the romance alive in your marriage. If you missed that episode, it’s not too late to listen! Rebuilding Intimacy in Marriage – Episode 96. It’s wise practical advice for your marriage all year long.
In the same vane, Bill and Pam have written Marriage Meetups: A Planner for Couples Who Want a Productive, Passionate and Purposeful Life to help you experience the very best in life, marriage, family, work and love. This couple shares that the quality of your marriage is determined by the decisions you make together. Marriage Meetups provides a plan you can follow to intentionally design the type of marriage, family and life you want as a couple. It is dynamic, deliberate and adjustable because it is your plan for your relationship. Pam and Bill provide a collection of strategy sheets will guide you to … 1. Gain insight into how your spouse likes to live; 2. Have productive conversations that minimize conflict; 3. Make decisions together that maximize emotional, spiritual and physical connection; 4. Improved conversations about money and financial choices; 5. Boost productivity so you get more done at work, home, or ministry; 6. Delegate well so things do not fall through the cracks of a busy life; 7. Nurture your relationship and create more time for the happy-side of marriage, romance, and intimacy; 8. Get and stay on the same page so you can move forward TOGETHER in unity and 9. Strengthen your spiritual life together and draw you closer to God and your partner. The black cover edition is for husbands and the red cover edition is for wives. Buy on Amazon
The Best Book for Learning to Pray Like Jesus
The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What Jesus Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today by Janet Holm McHenry
Janet McHenry is going to be an upcoming guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective Podcast, when we’ll be talking about learning to pray like Jesus. You won’t want to miss that episode, but you don’t have to wait for that episode to air to pick up her latest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus!
The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus takes the reader on a journey with Jesus to understand how, where, and why He prayed. Many individuals are very familiar with The Lord’s Prayer but are less aware of the 14 recorded prayers Jesus prayed. This book provides background, context, and a detailed look at each of Jesus’ prayers, as well as reflection questions and Scripture-based prayers. This book is guaranteed to enrich your own personal prayer life. Buy on Amazon
Great Book for Challenging You to Stay the Course When You Have a Prodigal
Help! I have a Prodigal: How to Gain Hope and Healing When Your Loved One Has Gone Astray by Judy R. Slegh
Many parents have suffered the pain that ensues when they’ve had a prodigal child. When Judy Slegh was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, she was able to speak to that pain from her firsthand experience [Prodigal Child: Hope and Healing When Your Loved One Has Gone Astray – Episode 110].
With wisdom drawn from her experience with a prodigal child, in her book, Help! I Have a Prodigal, Judy R. Slegh offers compassion and hope to those wearied by the turmoil of loving someone who has turned away from the faith and value systems of his or her upbringing. Designed as an emotional healing resource, this devotional guide combines interactive prayer with thoughtful guidance to help readers learn how to identify the emotional wounds they’ve suffered, release the pain that grips them, set healthy boundaries with those they love, learn to hear and recognize God’s voice, and know how to pray specifically for the situation. Buy on Amazon
The Best Book for Challenging You to Take Your Faith Deeper
The God Dare: Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? By Kate Battistelli
When Kate Battistelli was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we talked about what it looks like to jump out of our comfort zone, have faith and dare with God. That’s an episode you’ll be sure to want to go back and listen to [How to Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone and Dare with God – Episode 99]. Kate is the author of The God Dare. This book will challenge you to recognize that God created you for a reason, even if His plan looks different than your plan. Through engaging and memorable true stories—both biblical and modern—Kate Battistelli challenges and encourages you to discover how God has specifically designed you for this time in history, your place in the world, your role in His cosmic plan. She challenges you to be His willing vessel. Will you say yes?. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Those Who are Grieving
Soul Care When You’re Grieving by Edie Melson
Oh, dear grieving friend, are you wondering why others are grieving differently than you? Have your friends asked you about how you are grieving so you feel you might be doing something wrong? Grief is just so hard and we all grieve differently. Edie Melson has written her book to help you reframe some common misconceptions about grief. Using devotions, prayers and creative exercises, she will help you realize that God designed you uniquely and how you process loss is your own personal blueprint for dealing with grief. Buy on Amazon
Encouragement for Finding Beauty in the Hard Places
Hope in the Ruins – A Rescue and Recovery Plan for Hearts in Crisis by Lori Boruff
As a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, Lori Boruff shared about how to find hope when things aren’t always as they seem. She had been through times when she felt hopeless, but then found the true source of hope, and has learned that even when life is difficult, things aren’t always as they seem [Hope When Things Aren’t Always What They Seem – Episode 101].
If you are asking “Where is hope?” then I encourage you to pick up Lori’s book, Hope in the Ruins – A Rescue and Recovery Plan for Hearts in Crisis. Trusted life-coach, Lori Boruff discovered hope in the ruins using her faith, prayer and simple psychological insights to sort and process betrayal, disappointment, anger, rejection, worthlessness and more. If you are trying to make sense of the destruction and chaos in your life – use the tools Lori suggests and you, too, can find hope in the ruins. This is the day to find Hope in the Ruins. Today you can stop surviving—start thriving and build brighter future. Buy on Amazon
Best Book to Help You Put Sugar in its Place
The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation by Wendy Speake
The 40-Day Sugar Fast is for those who want to give up sugar in exchange for a deeper relationship with Jesus, which is the only thing that truly satisfies. The 40-day sugar fast helps you learn to stop fixating on food, or other things to fill the voids in life, and instead, fix your eyes on Jesus. If you want to hear the history behind The 40-Day Sugar Fast, you’ll want to listen to Benefits of a Sugar Fast – Episode 90 on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. Buy on Amazon
Good Book to Take a Multi-Dimensional Approach to Wellness
Weight-Loss Hero: Transform Your Mind and Your Body with a Healthy Keto Lifestyle by Christine Carter
Christine Carter coaches people looking to sustain a healthier lifestyle. Her own weight-loss journey off 150+ pounds taught her the importance of not just looking at the number on the scale, but the tapes running through her mind. When she came on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we talked about what we can do to take control of areas of our life that are holding us back [Weight Loss Journey: Hope for a Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul – Episode 104].
In Weight Loss Hero: Transform Your Mind and Your Body with a Healthy Keto Lifestyle, Christine Carter teaches from the core principle that in order to achieve lasting change in your body you must first transform your mind. In this book you’ll discover the many benefits to the ketogenic diet beyond weight loss–including reduced anxiety, minimized depression, and even a reduction or elimination of prescription medications. By teaching us how to nourish our minds so we can properly nourish our bodies, Christine provides a sustainable path to a fully integrated healthy low-carb lifestyle. Weight loss doesn’t begin with a new diet or exercise plan. It begins in the mind. Buy on Amazon
Great Book to Challenge Leaders to Lead with Integrity
Anchored: Leading Through the Storms by Cynthia Cavanaugh
When Cynthia Cavanaugh joined me on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we talked about how to stay anchored in a storm and flourish instead of sink [Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life? – Episode 103]. That’s the overarching theme of her book Anchored: Leading Through the Storms. Cynthia shares personal examples in order to equip believers with both biblical and leadership principles to help them in their sphere of influence and stay anchored to Jesus. This book encourages those in ministry leadership positions to lead with integrity even in the stormy seasons of life. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book to Encourage You When God’s Plans are Different than Your Own
Miraculously My Own: One Woman’s Incredible Journey of Infertility, Faith, and Adoption by Samantha J. Morgan
One of the most moving books I read this year was in preparation for two Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast episodes with Samantha Morgan. If you know anyone struggling with infertility, adoption, foster parenting, or their faith, you’ll want to make sure you listen to and share this episode [Hope for Healing After Infertility – Episode 106].
Michael and Samantha Morgan struggled with infertility, then began considering adoption, only to have their hopes dashed and their faith tested. Miraculously My Own shares their story of devastation and redemption, and will encourage the reader to lean into God when their own journey seems devastating, because God never wastes our pain. This story explores faith, purpose, and God’s provision when all hope seems lost. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Discovering Joy When Life Seems Joyless
Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship, and Suffering by Heidi McLaughlin
One of the most joyful conversations in the past year on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast was with Heidi McLaughlin. We would be hard pressed to find anyone right now who isn’t going through a hard time, just have experienced a hard time, or headed into a hard time. Yet hard times often challenge our joy. Heidi experienced several hard times in a row and yet shares with us how she learned to find joy in the midst of hard times. If you missed that episode, I encourage you to go back and listen [Discovering Joy in the Midst of Hard Times – Episode 112].
Heidi’s newest book, Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship, and Suffering, will infuse you with hope that pain and joy can co-exist. She experienced the loss of her first and second husbands, and felt trapped under the weight of immense grief. Yet she has lived to tell how in spite of pain, loss, and disappointment, joy is always available in an endless supply through our relationship with God. This is the book you’ll want to read if you’re fighting for joy! Buy on Amazon
Great Book When You’re Hoping for Relationship Reconciliation or Redemption
Unmothered: Life With a Mom Who Couldn’t Love Me by Phyllis Mantelli
In May, right around Mother’s Day, I knew I needed a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast who would be able to speak to those for whom Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of relationships that don’t fit the Hallmark picture we all desire. Phylis Mantelli experienced mother wounds, and went on to break the cycle of mother daughter dysfunction with her own children. She always says, “We are not a perfect family, but a bonded family.” Phylis’s mother struggled with alcoholism and narcissism, and didn’t know how to love Phylis and her two siblings [Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationships: Hope for Breaking the Cycle – Episode 108].
In her memoir Unmothered, Phylis Mantelli takes the reader on her roller-coaster journey of life with her alcoholic and narcissistic mother through to when Phylis found herself in a position to lovingly care for her mother. This is a book you’ll want to read if you need hope and encouragement while enduring dysfunctional family relationships. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Challenging You to Replace Lies with God’s Truth
Unraveling The Lie-Knot: Finding Freedom From the Tangles of Discouragement, Deception, and Depression by Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner
When Sheryl was a guest on Your Hope Filled-Perspective podcast, we talked about finding hope when it feels like you’ve lost your mind [When It Feels Like You’re Losing Your Mind – Finding Hope – Episode 109]. Sheryl is a delivered drug addict, stage four cancer survivor and former widow. Once a hopeless dope fiend, she is now a dopeless hope fiend!
Sheryl’s latest book, Unraveling The Lie-Knot: Finding Freedom From the Tangles of Discouragement, Deception, and Depression recognizes that we are products of our upbringing and experiences that often lead to false beliefs which keep us bound and hold us back. The lies we’ve come to believe play on a loop in our minds to condemn us, accuse us, shame us, and blame us. But Sheryl shares how to unravel those lies and replace them with God’s truth to live your best life as a faithful follower of Jesus. Buy on Amazon
Great Book for Overcoming Discouragement and Shame
Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You by Tina Yeager
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at several conferences alongside Tina Yeager, and most recently, being a guest speaker on her summit [insert affiliate link and name of her summit here]. Our areas of passion overlap, so we have each had the honor of being a guest on each other’s podcasts. As a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that probably everyone can relate to experiencing shame and disappointment. We’ve all had high hopes and expectations that didn’t turn out the way we wanted, and we’ve all experienced shame over what we’ve done or said, or failed to do, or because we haven’t met our own or others’ expectations for us. When Tina was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we had an important discussion about hope for overcoming discouragement or shame [Hope for Overcoming Shame and Discouragement – Episode 116].
In Tina’s book, Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You, she shares her own history of struggle with poor self-esteem as well as her clinical insights as a licensed therapist to show you how you, too, can be free from the negative, self-defeating patterns which adversely impact your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Using a biblical foundation, this book empowers you to break free from the insecurity that has you trapped. Buy on Amazon
Great Roadmap for Helping You Discover Your Purpose
Make it Matter – A Roadmap to Living a Life of Purpose by Kris Reece
Have you ever wondered what God wants you to do with your life? I often get asked “How do I know what God’s purpose is for my life?” That was the topic of discussion when Kris Reece was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast [How To Live a Life of Purpose – Episode 67]. It’s easy to stay so busy putting out fires and responding to demands that we end up missing out on doing the things we most enjoy. Do you ever find yourself watching others living and loving their God-given purpose yet wonder why you feel stuck and unfulfilled? In Make It Matter, Christian life coach Kris Reece provides a step-by-step, straightforward roadmap to discovering your God given purpose. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Healing from Domestic Abuse
Hope for Healing from Domestic Abuse: Reaching for God’s Promise of Real Freedom by Karen DeArmond Gardner
The frequency and incidence of domestic abuse is staggering, and until recently, it was almost a taboo topic, even in the church. Karen DeArmond Gardner was a guest on two episodes of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast to share much needed hope for healing from domestic abuse [Hope for Healing from Domestic Abuse – Episode 119 and When Healing after Domestic Abuse, God will Meet You – Episode 120].
God abhors evil and hates abuse toward His children. While the world heaps guilt, shame, and condemnation on those who have endured abuse, Karen DeArmond Gardner shares God’s unconditional love. She understands that secrets no longer hold their power when they are brought out into the light. God has brought beauty from ashes as He has used Karen and her experiences in Hope for Healing from Domestic Abuse to speak up for others and share how she learned to live again after escaping an abusive marriage and how you can have a voice too. Hope for Healing from Domestic Abuse isn’t a how-to book with a few easy steps. Instead, it’s a biblically based map for a long journey to healing. Buy from Amazon
Best New Book for Learning How to Pray Through Our Emotions
Praying through Every Emotion: Experiencing God’s Peace No Matter What by Linda Evans Shepherd
We all experience a wide range of emotions. Emotions in and of themselves are not bad—they are God given. But some emotions can sometimes be a stumbling block to our relationships, prayer life and our walk with the Lord. In a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, with guest Linda Evans Shepherd, we dove a bit deeper into our emotions and how to use Scripture to pray through difficult emotions [How to Use Scripture to Pray through Difficult Emotions – Episode 122].
In her new book, Praying through Every Emotion: Experiencing God’s Peace No Matter What, popular speaker and noted authority on prayer, Linda Evans Shepherd, helps you find emotional balance through targeted, Scripture-based prayer. This book is not only great for a reader who may be struggling to know how to pray through specific circumstances or emotions, but it is also a beautiful gift-able book to share with a coworker, friend, or loved one. It’s one I have gifted many times. Buy on Amazon
Good Book for Learning to Move from Brokenness to Victorious
Becoming a Victory Girl: Staking Your Claim in the Kingdom by Amy Elaine Martinez
We have all made mistakes in our life. We’ve all done things we regret. We’ve all gone through hardships that have hurt and scarred us in some way. In short, we’ve all gone through brokenness. The question is, how do we move beyond that and live victoriously? On an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Amy Elaine Martinez about hope for moving from brokenness to living victoriously [Hope for moving from brokenness to Victorious Living – Episode 123]. She admitted to having grown up in the church, but then having made some devastating life choices. But then she shared what her breaking point was—when she knew something had to change. And she shared a bit of her journey from brokenness to victorious living and what that looks like.
Amy Elaine’s book, Becoming A Victory Girl: Staking Your Claim in The Kingdom, will help you fully walk out your God-given destiny in the Kingdom of God. Amy Elaine shares her sure-fire battle plan to become a Victory Girl and stake your claim. The enemy wants to steal and destroy your destiny, but you’ve already been made victorious in Jesus Christ. Now is the time, master the skills needed to defend your territory and walk in your full destiny by becoming a Victory Girl. Buy on Amazon
Best Book to Detox You From Social Media and Refocus on What Matters
The 40-Day Social Media Fast: Exchange Your Online Distractions for Real-Life Devotion by Wendy Speake
Do you ever find that you scroll mindlessly on social media on your phone, computer, or tablet and before you’ve realized it, you’ve wasted precious time that could have been spent on something more productive? I’ve been there. That’s why I asked Wendy Speake, author of The 40-Day Social Media Fast: Exchange Your Online Distractions for Real Life Devotion to be on Your Hope-Filled Perspective. During that episode we talked about how we can exchange our online distractions for real-life devotion. Wendy shared what she has learned through her periods of social media fasting and why we may want to consider doing the same [Benefits of Taking a Break from Social Media – Episode 85].
Our thoughts determine our beliefs, our beliefs determine our attitudes, and our attitudes determine our behaviors, so what we spend time thinking about impacts both how we feel and ultimately how we behave. A decade ago, precious little time was spent on the internet, whereas today, social media profiles are growing exponentially and online surfing comprises more of our day than spending time gathered around the table for family meals. The 40-Day Social Media Fast is a challenge to all of us to turn from what our behavior proves is our first love (all things online) to the One who desires to be our first and only love. Wendy Speake helps us to see that in and of itself, social media (or food, or music, etc.) is not inherently bad, but when we turn to it to cope rather than to the God with all wisdom, we trade that which will last for eternity for the momentary gratification of a “like,” a ping, a calorie, or a tune. If you’ve found yourself growing disenchanted with life, I’d recommend you reach The 40-Day Social Media Fast, and intentionally and purposefully re-engage with the One who died to have a relationship with you. Buy on Amazon
Best Book for Learning a New, Powerful Prayer Strategy
Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven: Petitions for Prisoners and Prison Families by Shonda Whitworth
One of the most riveting episodes of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast featured a guest who found herself in the worst of situations…the kind of situation no parent ever wants to experience. She received a call that her son had been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon under the Texas Law of Parties. In that episode, Shonda Whitworth shared how her prayer life changed through this experience and how yours can too [How to Pray for an Incarcerated Son – Episode 124].
Can you imagine hearing the gavel sound on the hopes and dreams you held for your loved one who now faces years in prison? What to do? Do we seek another court hearing, what? You are in despair and this is how Shonda Whitworth felt over the future her son faced. BUT God redeems. He can even redeem the worst offenders so Shonda chose to appeal to the heavenly court on behalf of her son and she developed a hope-filled life. She knew that there are consequences for our actions but she also knew that God is just. Find hope, with Shonda, as she shares her heart with you through her story. I suspect you’ll find your own prayer life strengthened and enriched. Buy on Amazon
Best Book for Learning How to Get Organized and Simplify Your Holidays
Simplify Your Holiday Season by Marcia Ramsland
I have personally learned that when my environment and surroundings are chaotic, cluttered or disorganized, my heart and mind feel that way as well. I have learned some helpful systems over the year, but am always interested in learning new, more efficient systems to simplify life. That’s why I was thrilled when my friend, Marcia Ramsland, agreed to be a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, so you could benefit from her wisdom. Every year the holidays bring stress, chaos, and disorganization when one considers all the additional to-do’s added to our already over-crowded days and schedules. On this particular episode we talked about how to get organized and simplify your holidays with holiday pro, Marcia Ramsland [How To Get Organized and Simplify Your Holidays – Episode 134].
The Holiday Season is coming! Do you REALLY want to simplify it this year? Oh, I know, you say that every year, but do you want to get serious? Well, Marcia Ramsland, the Organizing Pro and Holiday Coach, has a lot of ideas and suggestions in this book for you. Let’s get started with: Practical ideas, Charts, and Systems that will guide you through the busiest time of the year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas enjoy using her tips to make this the simplest and most enjoyable Holiday Season ever. Note: The companion book, Simply December Devotions by Marcia Ramsland, will help you have the best holiday season ever! Buy on Amazon
Best New Book to Help You Celebrate Advent
Seeking Joy Through the Gospel of Luke: A Christmas to Calvary Advent Countdown by Christine Trimpe
I was not raised in a church that celebrated the advent season, so I didn’t grow up observing advent but I have wanted to know more about it. So I asked friend, Christine Trimpe, to be a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast to talk about preparing our hearts for the advent season and the Christmas holiday [Hope for Transforming our Body, Mind, Heart and Soul – Episode 91]. Christine describes herself as is a former casual Christian who is now passionate about God’s word and just released a book about how we can seek joy through the gospel of Luke as we prepare for the advent season.
Does the Lord give you words to encourage you? Of course, He does and that is exactly what He did for Christine Trimpe. He gave her the words: “The weary world rejoices!” She was in a difficult season but these words inspired her to go deeper in studying JOY. And she learned more about joy in what was a life-changing exploration for her. She delighted in God’s Word daily and realized the never-ending gift God gives, ‘the good news of great joy’. She offers this twenty-five day Christmas advent that will draw us to live in the joy of the Lord no matter what is happening in our lives. Beginning on December 1 with Luke 1, readers will go twenty-four days through twenty-four chapters in Luke, ending with chapter 25 for a final Christmas Day message. When we delight in God’s Word daily, we can’t help but share the good news of great joy. It’s the never-ending gift with the power to positively impact the world around us. This Christmas season—or whenever you need an extra dose of cheer—watch how God’s abundant joy influences the world forever as we experience Luke’s gospel story. Buy on Amazon
Great Book for Helping You Accept Your Heavenly Father’s Love Despite Your Earthly Relationships
My Father’s Daughter: Embracing Your Identity as a Daughter of the King by Tanya Glanzman, LPC
So many women struggle to call God Father because they have never known a Father that was good. A recent guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, Tanya Glanzman, struggled in that respect as well until God revealed His vast love for her, and now she knows that she is her Heavenly Father’s daughter. That was such an important episode talking about what it truly means to embrace our identity as a child of God. Listen here: Knowing How Much God Loves You – Episode 114
Tanya’s book, My Father’s Daughter: Embracing Your Identity as a Daughter Of The King is a helpful book for those who know that God’s Word declares that God both loves and forgives, but they struggle to believe it is true for them. In this book, Tanya shares about her past which included painful abuse and neglect, but more importantly, how she experienced healing and a revelation of her true identity in the love and acceptance of her Heavenly Father. If you’ve ever struggled to truly understand and embrace your God-given identity as a Daughter of the King, and truly know how God views you, this book is a must for your reading list. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book to Challenge Your Perspective on Joy
JoyKeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy by Suzanne Eller
When Suzie Eller was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective, she shared how she experienced one incredibly painful trial after another, and yet through it, she has come to savor the sweet aroma of her Savior walking with her in those trials. If you are going through a difficult time, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode [Biblical Joy: Finding, Keeping, and Living in God’s Joy – Episode 102].
Out of a long season of sorrow, there were days that Suzanne Eller would whisper to herself, “Joy is more than a feeling; it is a knowing.” She was learning that to keep joy in her life, she needed to sort out her feelings and what she knew to be true. She examined several biblical truths in this power-packed book which will help you see joy and God in a new light. Thirty practical and inspirational daily exercises are also included so you can intentionally practice these truths. If you feel sad or frustrated or angry, you’re not doing something wrong. The difference comes when you ground your joy in the Source of lasting peace and learn to be a joykeeper. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Learning to Celebrate How God Made You
The Burden of Better: How a Comparison-Free Life Leads to Joy, Peace, and Rest by Heather Creekmore
I spent much of my life believing that if I “could just be better” then God would love me more. I tried living up to the most unrealistic expectations I placed on myself and that I allowed others to place on me, leaving me feeling weary, exhausted, and inadequate. Heather Creekmore understands “the burden of better” and how comparison robs us of joy, peace, and rest. In an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective, Heather shared what she has learned about the dangers of comparison and the burden to be better. It was a message I needed to hear so maybe you’ll appreciate it too [How To Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – Episode 77].
In my 30 years in mental health, one of the most prevalent issues I’ve seen in my office has been not truly knowing our identity in Christ. So many look to others and their accomplishments, only to come up short and lacking in the joy Christ came to give us. Too often we spend our efforts trying to be better, and in the end, we just carry around a burden we were not meant to carry. In The Burden of Better, Heather Creekmore uses her characteristic humorous style to help us learn how a comparison-free life leads to joy, peace, and rest. She helps us understand how “the life of comparison is the old nature, not our new nature,” and then helps us see how living comparison-free lets us rest in the joy that is ready for our pursuing. If you’ve struggled with comparison, and constantly trying to be better (and who of us hasn’t?), then The Burden of Better should be on the top of your stack of books to read and digest next! Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Learning How to Support an Anxious or Depressed Child
Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation by Lori Wildenberg
As a mental health provider, I want to do all I can to equip those suffering from mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation and help break the stigma attached to such prevalent issues. So, I knew I needed to interview Lori Wildenberg on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. On that episode we talked about hope for helping your child overcome anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation. Lori is not just a speaker and an author, but a parent who almost lost her daughter to death by suicide and shared with us what she’s learned [Hope for Helping Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal Ideation – Episode 127].
As a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, for years I warned patients, parents, teachers, and healthcare providers that “by 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide—greater than AIDS, cancer, and heart disease all put together.” We are there now. What’s worse is that the incidence in teens and children has risen exponentially in recent years. Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation is the kind of book I wish I had had in the early days of private practice to offer as a resource for struggling parents, families, and mental health providers. The personal accounts contained within reveal vulnerability, grace, and compassion. The hope busters, hope builders, and hopeful truths offer a place to evaluate our own response and learn a better way to support those crushed by the painful reality of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Buy on Amazon
Powerful Book for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide
Broken Butterflies: Emerging Through Grief, A Suicide Survivor’s Poetic Journal by Karisa Moore
On many episodes of the podcast, we’ve talked about different aspects of mental health, and I have shared my experiences and both personal and professional insights regarding issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. Yet I have never lost a loved one to suicide. So, I asked Karisa Moore, who lost her son to suicide in 2014, to share about finding hope after losing a loved one to suicide [Finding Hope After Losing a Loved One to Suicide – Episode 128].
Have you ever had a heartache that just never leaves? Losing a child is like that. How do you grieve with Hope? Where is God at a time like that? Broken Butterflies will answer these questions in a mother’s unique and passionate voice. You must love God and others with your whole heart. Always know that God mourns with you and will give His comfort. This mother lost her teenage son in 2014 to suicide and it brought her to her knees yet also revealed a new purpose. Karisa doesn’t shy away from the pain, the struggle, or the questions after such devastating loss, yet she looks through the lens of God’s faithfulness through such gut wrenching times. She uses the metaphor of the birth of a butterfly to share how our most difficult trials strengthen us for a greater purpose, proving yet again that God never wastes our pain. Buy on Amazon
Great Book for Understanding the Importance of Rest and How to Guard It
Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy by Kelly Balarie
As a “recovering type-A, perfectionist,” I have to admit, rest doesn’t always come easily to me. I’ve had to get over the untruth that rest is a punishment, and come to realize that God gives His children rest as a gift! It’s easy to let our hearts and minds become overwhelmed when it seems there is more to do on our list than there are hours in a day.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Please know that you are NOT alone! Sixty percent of people admit to doing more than they can manage. We often fall prey to the mantra, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Somehow, we seem to think God requires this of us. AND if we do not do it, we feel selfish and guilty, grow weary and begin to be so exhausted we shout at others. Is this what God really wants? Who does God say we really are? Rest Now offers us permission to breathe and exposes lies that will push us, distract us and seem to force us so that rest is not an option. REST must be a part of our lives. Let’s learn how to Rest by creating boundaries, say no and feel good about it and be open for God to speak. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Learning How to Combat Toxic Thinking
Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen
The Bible tells us to take every thought captive. That’s a tall order when you consider that we have between 50-70,000 thoughts a day. But if we don’t intentionally consider our thoughts and whether or not they line up with what God says, we often end up with toxic thought patterns that influence our emotions and behavior.
Are you allowing your thoughts to hold you captive? Jennie Allen knows what that is like, she has been there. I’m not good enough; other people have it better than I do; God doesn’t really love me. These are the thoughts that assailed her. BUT she knew she didn’t have to listen and stay stuck in that toxic thinking. God has built a way for us to escape them and gain freedom. In Get Out of Your Head, Jennie inspires and equips us to be transformed in our thoughts and to submit our minds to Christ. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Journaling Your Way To Breakthrough
Unstuck: Step Into the New- A 40 Day Prayer Journal by Amy Robnik Joob
This past couple of years has certainly had the majority of us trying new things or new formats, and often taken us out of our comfort zone. That was true for Amy Joob and her husband who found themselves stuck in the recent pandemic and made the successful transition into a new path for their careers and ministry. When she was a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, we chatted about how to get unstuck and move into the season God has for you [How To Get Unstuck in Life and Move Forward – Episode 130].
Do you desire your faith to burn within you and for hope to be lasting? Here is a prayer devotional for you! It is a forty-day journal that will guide you through prayer as you are placed in a position for breakthrough and the clarity needed for your next right step. This prayer book will aid you in your quest for a meaningful prayer life and a very fulfilling journey of faith. Let’s get unstuck and move closer to where the Lord wants you. Join Amy as she shares how you can have an intimate prayer life through personal stories that will inspire you. Buy on Amazon
Best New Book for Learning to Stop Striving
Letting God Be Enough: Why Striving Keeps You Stuck and How Surrender Sets You Free by Erica Wiggenhorn
Have you ever felt inferior or insignificant? Have you ever felt like an imposter? Like if someone knew the real you, they would be disappointed? So many struggle with these very issues, including the biblical great, Moses, so you aren’t alone. On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I had the delight of chatting with Erica Wiggenhorn about the tie between self-sufficiency and our fear of inadequacy. Erica knows what it’s like to live under the shadow of the imposter syndrome but has learned how to untangle herself from the fear of inadequacy and let God be enough for her [How To Untangle Yourself from the Fear of Inadequacy – Episode 131].
Have you ever struggled with knowing that on the outside, people think you’ve got it all together, yet on the inside you don’t think you’re enough? Then Erica’s book, Letting God Be Enough: Why Striving Keeps You Stuck and How Surrender Sets You Free is a must read for you! Moses was the biggest self-doubter in the Bible, but just like our own self-doubt, it’s based in self-reliance, when God calls us to rely on Him. In truth, we aren’t enough—but God is, so you are when you are reliant on Him. Buy on Amazon
Best New (to me) Novel
Rooms: A Novel by James Rubart
I’ll admit, the majority of books I read are nonfiction, but I do love to read a few novels each year, usually when I’m on vacation or have finished one of my own writing projects. I’m not sure where I’ve been, but I just recently stumbled across James Rubart’s work. This was the first book of his that I read and I immediately started recommending it to all of my reader friends. And then I promptly binged on several more of his novels!
Micah Taylor had NO IDEA how his life would change when he inherited a mansion on the Oregon coast from his great uncle. He had a pretty busy and demanding life without this but he chose to check it out. He has a love/hate relationship with the beach where the mansion is located. This story by James Rubart has so any unexpected but intriguing twists and turns and it will take you on a mind-bending spiritual journey you won’t want to miss. Buy on Amazon
Best Book for Conquering Worry, Fear, and Anxiety
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Ours is an age of anxiety. We worry about our children, jobs, homes, health, and finances. News and social media feed our fears. Even the fear of missing out leads to anxiety. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety but to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence–and then use the weapons of power, love, and a sound mind to fight back and live in God’s peace. This book provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now, and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip. Winner, 2021 Christian Literary Awards Reader’s Choice Award in four categories, Golden Scroll Book of the Year Award (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and Nonfiction Kudos Award (Carolina Christian Writers Conference.) Buy on Amazon
Best Book for Coping With Depression
Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
I treated patients for 20 years with conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and everyday stress, before I, too, suffered and then realized that unless we treat the spiritual root of disease, we are effectively only attempting to put a band aid on an infection and hoping it will get well. “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” is written from a dual-perspective of a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, but also someone who has walked through depression’s valley. It explains where depression comes from, what keeps us trapped in its valley, how to break free, as well as the limits God places on depression’s impact. It also offers end of chapter application “prescriptions,” encouraging song playlist recommendations, and a prayer for the reader. For those who purchase the book, there is a link for a bonus chapter regarding how to help a depressed loved one. By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide, and one in four will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Even if you don’t struggle with depression, you have a friend or loved one who does and who would benefit from this resource! “Hope Prevails” won the 2017 Christian Literary Award. Buy on Amazon
Best Bible Study When Struggling With Depression or Anxiety
Hope Prevails Bible Study by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
In response to reader requests following the release of “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression,” there is now a new companion “Hope Prevails Bible Study” to take you even deeper into God’s word for greater help, hope, and healing. The “Hope Prevails Bible Study” was written for those struggling with depression, or those who desire to better understand depression to support their friends, loved ones, and fellow church members who suffer. It was written so that it could be a side-by-side accompaniment to the original “Hope Prevails,” or could be studied independently. It was also intentionally written so that an individual could study it by themselves, or in a small group environment. True to the original “Hope Prevails,” it also offers end of chapter application “prescriptions,” encouraging song playlist recommendations, and a prayer for the reader. The Hope Prevails Bible Study won the 2018 Christian Literary Award. Buy on Amazon
Best Socks for Readers
Do Not Disturb Reading Socks
Ever the fan of novelty socks, I had to include these on the list of items for readers. They are the most humorous, if not subtle, way of letting any passerby know not to disturb a reader enjoying a good read.
Best Pillow for Book Lovers
Book Lover Pillow
This pillow is a must-have for readers like me who just can’t stop until they finish the chapter. It’d make a perfect gift for avid readers amongst your family or friends.
Best Scarf for Book Lovers and Readers
Literary and Book-Themed Lightweight Scarf
What a clever idea to pair our love of reading with clothing to make these creative lightweight scarves. Many styles and colors to choose from! You might even get creative and wrap your book lover’s favorite book in one of these scarves to make the perfect gift. Buy on Amazon
I’m always looking for a great book to read. I’d love to hear some of your favorite books you’ve read this year, and why, in the comments below. Who knows—maybe they’ll be featured in one of my upcoming “Best Of” series!
Hannah Miles Pierrou is giving away a copy of her book, Farm to Film.
Leave a comment below sharing with us if what farm animals are your young reader’s favorites and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Wednesday, November 24, 2021. Continental United States only.