I have spent my life reading. Truly. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about books and starting a new book or planning what I was going to read next. I’ve read books that made me laugh and books that made me cry and books I’ve never finished and books I’ve read to the tenth power. That’s the thing about books. They have a super power. On the surface, they appear to be nothing more than pages upon pages of letters formed into words formed into sentences and paragraphs and titles and chapters.
Books are so much more. They are transporting and life changing and path shifting and spirit lifting and soul speaking. Simple letters on a page that can transform a heart.
Here is a list of my favorite heart transformers that changed my life.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I think I was eight when I first discovered Mary and Carrie and Laura and Ma and Pa. I didn’t want to miss a detail of Christmas and Laura’s doll or the trip to Grandmas and the sugar mapling or Pa’s trip to the countryside and the honey he brought home. It was a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a girl who was just about my age and her adventures on the farm. I wanted to be Laura’s friend. I wanted to walk to school with Carrie and Mary and carry a lunch pail. I wanted to help Ma with supper and listen to Pa play the fiddle and tell Nellie Olsen to take a hike.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I wish I could remember who first recommended this book to me. I’d like to name my next child after them. This book is life-changing and perspective shifting and insight sharing all rolled into one. Gary Chapman looks at how we express love to others and how we want love to be shown to us. There are five major love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts and quality touch. There’s a quiz in the book that helps you determine what your love language is and how you express love to others. It is literally life changing. It helps you gain perspective on your interpersonal interactions and how to communicate your love language to others.
The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
This book had me from the cover—it was created from candy. I had never heard of Jennifer Dukes Lee before I picked up this book and when I finished it I felt like I had found a friend. I identified with the author. She was just like me. We were both searching for happiness and trying to fit happiness into a box, rather than embracing where we were on the journey. I loved this book because it gave concrete, specific ideas on how to discover your own happiness. The book includes a happiness quiz to help you understand the happiness styles. There were chapters on how to find your happiness sweet spot and overcoming obstacles that get in the way of finding your happiness and creative five-minute daily activities to celebrate happiness daily.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
If you are struggling with debt. If your bills show up in the mail and you don’t want to open them. If you feel like you are on the money hamster wheel, this is the book for you. My husband and I read this book years ago and it saved our marriage and our college fund. There are seven baby steps in the book and every one is a life changer. You start by establishing an emergency fund, then paying down debt, creating a savings account, putting money away for college and building wealth. It’s easy to read, simple to follow and life changing. We still follow the principles outlined in the book and the framework from all those years ago still holds true today.
Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst
I have struggled with food my entire life. Truth? I spent years thinking that there was nothing that a really good brownie fudge sundae couldn’t fix. I knew I could conquer the struggle—if only. If only I could find the right diet. If only I could stick to it. If only I could count calories and exercise and figure out how to fall in love with broccoli. This book changed all that. It gave me a new perspective on the weight struggle. Made to Crave isn’t about the latest diet or new eating plan. Instead, it explores why we do what we do. Why we choose the foods we do? Why we struggle? What are we really looking for? That need for food can only be met by placing our faith in God and his infinite power. When you satisfy the cravings in your heart, you help heal your soul and restore your health.
KariAnne Wood, author of You’ve Got This
On the days when life feels a little less than amazing, remember: you’ve got this.
You do. Even when the dinner’s burnt or you missed an important event on the calendar or your hair has suddenly developed a mind of its own. Even when you feel invisible or misunderstood or unwanted.
You’ve got this—because God’s got you. Straight from the heart of popular Thistlewood Farms blogger KariAnne Wood comes this beautiful, pocket-sized, 52-day devotional. Full of warmth and encouragement, each reading holds Scriptural reflections, personal stories, and prayers to remind us that God is always by our side. He loves us when we feel unlovable. He lifts us up and gives us a peace that passes all understanding. And in the midnight of every dark moment, he is there.
The perfect gift for anyone who needs a little hope today, You’ve Got This (Because God’s Got You) will give you the inspiration you need to keep going—and to know you’re never alone.