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Good Words

Friends, my playlist is about to get a major Mama makeover. Elliott and I have never been the kind of parents to keep our preferred music away from our son. Sure, some of the content got watered down once little man’s ears started to pick up on words, but we never fully converted our music of choice over to a Kidz Bop-approved variety. Over the last year or so, Brooks – our son who is now five years old – has taken a special interest in singing along with me to the songs that are on my playlist. We sing in the car, he sings along with the music while I work out or while we run down back country roads. It’s kind of become our thing. When we get to the songs that are filled with uplifting messages – messages that reinforce our faith or encourage self-confidence – I always say, “Listen, buddy! These are good words.” After a few months of me reminding him to pay close attention to the lyrics in certain songs, Brooks has now started to ask me, “Mommy, are these good words?” wh

On My Nightstand: My Top Five Books This Summer

I confessed in my last post that I've been a self-proclaimed bookworm for about as long as I can remember. (As evidence, I followed the Wakefield twins throughout the entire Sweet Valley series and kind of didn't know what to do with myself when the storyline ended. Can I get a witness?!)

Getting lost in a book has always been one of my favorite pastimes, so no blog of mine would be complete without a seasonal list of reading recommendations. And I believe that summer is the perfect season to start; whether it's on your back porch, on the beach or just lying in bed, there's nothing quite like the slower rhythm of summertime and having a great book as a companion.

Over the last several months, I've been in a season of wanting to devour as much personal development reading material as possible, so you'll see that as a consistent theme throughout my summer list of recommendations. If you follow me on Instagram (@elizaustin), most of these books won't come as a surprise to you. When I get really passionate about a book, I have a hard time keeping it to myself - most of these book covers, and sometimes entire pages of text - have made their way into my IG feed.

The only other disclaimer I have about my list is that I'm providing links for each book to where you can purchase it from Barnes & Noble. I know Amazon is king and I'm probably old-fashioned...but Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world (Coffee, trains to entertain my son, AND an endless supply of books and magazines?! This must be utopia!), and I want you to help me keep them in business. (If B&N ever gives up the fight and closes its doors, don't call me. I'll be rocking back and forth in the fetal position.)

"I've Been Thinking" by Maria Shriver
Purchase it here!

If you're looking for a nugget of inspiration each day, this book is a perfect choice. I love Maria Shriver's writing because it's plain but poignant. The words are simple and straightforward, but they are clearly inspired by thoughtfulness and soul searching. Each chapter begins with a quote, then contains Maria's thoughts on a particular subject, and ends with a prayer. The book is not religious, but it is absolutely spiritual, and it's a wonderful reminder to spend time each day getting to know ourselves, our Creator and the people around us better.

"Embraced" by Lysa TerKeurst

It's not a coincidence that there are two summer reading recommendations on my list that are written by Lysa TerKeurst. I was introduced to her writing last year, and I was hooked pretty instantly. Her writing style is as if she's one of your closest girlfriends, talking with you over a cup of coffee, asking about your struggles and being completely candid about her own. "Embraced" was released earlier this summer and is a wonderful collection of devotionals written by Lysa, and each one truly leaves me feeling inspired and uplifted. I'll be honest - I'm not always as good as I should be about carving out my quiet time each day. But when I'm doing well with it, I like to start my day with this book and end it with "I've Been Thinking." Start right, end right.

"The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst

Y'all, this book is powerful - it changed me. It's not Lysa's newest book ("Uninvited" is actually more recent, and I highly recommend it to you as well), but I just finished this one this summer. It may sound cheesy, but I believe this book was brought into my life for a reason, and it started to tug on my heart even before I fully understood how. The main point of the message is that we should say no to the things that get in the way of our Best Yes assignments - the big dreams we hide deep in our hearts, the talents we don't take time to cultivate, the opportunities we don't chase, caring for the ones that matter most. We can't make room for the things we should be saying yes to if we don't learn how to say no to the things that are clouding our schedules and our judgment. P O W E R F U L.

"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about my obsession with this book and its author. I don't have adequate words to express to you how much I love the content in "Girl, Wash Your Face." I want to buy it for every single woman I know. Each chapter is spent debunking a lie that Rachel Hollis used to believe about herself - and trust me, most of them are lies that you've believed about yourself as well. And every single one of those lies that we believe about ourselves is keeping us from living our best lives and being the people we were created to be. This book offers equal parts grace for oneself and a butt-kicking reality check. By far, it is the book that has resonated the most with me during this season of intentional personal growth (which hopefully never ends!), and I deeply believe that it will resonate with you as well. I dare say it could even change your life.

"All We Ever Wanted" by Emily Giffin

Hands down, my favorite author of all time is Emily Giffin. In 2008, I got to meet her at a book signing, and I thought I had DIED and gone to heaven. She only puts out a book every other year, so I try to read each one as slowly as I can, to make it last as long as possible. Such is the case with "All We Ever Wanted," which came out just a couple of weeks ago. I'm several chapters in and doing my best to take it slow, but this one is pulling me in quickly. I'm still in the early pages of the book, and I can already tell that this may be some of her absolute best writing. If you're looking for a book to lose yourself in, or a perfect beach read, I can't recommend Emily's books enough. Every single one truly is fantastic.

I would love to hear from you on which of these books you decide to try, as well as the ones that you think I need to rush out to Barnes & Noble and purchase. Happy reading, friends!


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