My First First Love


I have always loved stories.

As a kid, wearing Osh Kosh B’ Gosh, I loved nothing more than trips to the library where I could check out 37 books at a time. I would run my fingers lightly over the plastic-covered spines and try to choose the best ones based solely on title. My favorites were Strega Nona (an Italian grandma/witch who made lots of spaghetti), Brave Irene ( a young girl presses her way through a snowstorm to deliver a dress for a party), Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (a donkey turns into a pebble), Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (a lot of excitement happens while the rancher is away), and all of the Berenstain Bear books.

As I got older, I read series like The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Mandie, and Animal Inn. I also loved Little House on the Prairie, Caddie Woodlawn, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Pretty Penny Farm.

There was a brief period of time-traveling, heaving bosom love stories in my early twenties, but let’s not go there.

These days it’s lots of books on Christian living, self- improvement/motivation,  funny fiction, and modern autobiographies 1(especially travel autobiographies). My favorites these days are:

Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. I could read this over and over. I want to live in Lost River, Alabama and be friends with all of them. That’s how good it is. Also, anything else by Fannie Flagg. I Still Dream About You is amazing, as well.

Alex: The Life of a Child by Frank DeFord. A true story about a little girl with Cystic Fibrosis and the example of bravery and the gift of joy she was.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. Two hilarious, heart warming tales set in the south that draw you in and make you cry when it’s over.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson. This series highlights the ups and downs and unbreakable bonds of friendship between a group of very diverse women in the suburbs of Chicago.

I read or listen to audio books all the time. Thank you, Overdrive! Right now I’m in the middle of listening to the “Bunnicula Collection” featuring Bunnicula, Howliday Inn, and The Celery Stalks at Midnight. Classic literature.

I love stories because you can be on the deck of a pirate ship, or out on the mission field in Kenya, or in the middle of an unfolding epic romance, all without putting on pants.

Some books are not stories at all. Instead, they are great teachers and personal trainers: Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukoup, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson have all impacted my life for the better.

These days, I like to read a few blogs as well. I love that our ordinary lives can encourage, inspire, motivate, lend humor, and extend emotional intimacy: simply by sharing our stories. Lysa TerKeurst, Sophie Hudson at Boomama, Jen Hatmaker, and my sweet friend Deb Mills all write in a way that either leaves me peering my pants from laughing or seeing Jesus in a new way. Sometimes both.

What are some of your favorites?


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