There’s something comforting about hearing the words, “Me too.”

These two small words bring a certain level of freedom and relief in knowing that you’re not the only one — in knowing that your burden doesn’t need to be carried alone.

That’s one thing that author Ashleigh Slater wants readers to experience when reading her latest book, Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard.

 

me too

 

It’s my pleasure to welcome Ashleigh to the blog today with a brief interview about her new book. Ashleigh plays an important role in my own writing journey, as she was the first editor to ever accept one of my guest post submissions. After that first “yes,” I had the privilege of writing for her at Ungrind for the first few years of my online writing career.

In Braving Sorrow Together, Ashleigh shares stories, personal experiences, and biblical wisdom about the power of faith and community when dealing with difficult issues pertaining to jobs, health, relationships, laying down dreams, and more.

At the end of this post, be sure to get your free copy of the companion e-book, Me Too: More Stories of Faith, Community, and Braving Sorrow Together.

I’m excited to have a chapter included in this collection of essays related to braving sorrow together, and would love to share it with you.

 

1) What led you to write on this topic?

Team Us: Marriage TogetherMy first book, Team Us, was on marriage. When it came time to consider writing a second book, I fully expected to write another one for couples. As I sat down to brainstorm with my publisher, though, they asked, “What do people resonate the most with that you write?” My response was, “My miscarriage and panic attacks.” From this grew the idea of writing on loss.

The more I contemplated loss, the more I realized that all of us have stories of loss. However, it may not include miscarriage or anxiety. For some, loss might include unemployment, divorce, prolonged singleness, cancer, or infertility. I wanted to meet readers in whatever sorrow they faced. And, when I didn’t personally have experience with one of these losses, I brought in the voices of those who have.

 

 

2) What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

During the time I was writing Braving Sorrow Together, we moved, my husband Ted’s father died, and one of my daughters was cast in the national tour for a musical. Each of these events brought with it unique challenges when it came to finding time to write.

For example, Ted did most of the cross-country traveling with our daughter for eight months. This meant that I was single parenting, homeschooling, managing household issues, and trying to write a book all at the same time. It stretched and challenged and discouraged me. There were moments I didn’t think I’d be able to finish the book.

 

 

3) What do you hope your readers will get out of it?

I hope readers are:

  • reminded that God writes our stories and can be trusted when life is hard
  • encouraged that they aren’t alone in their loss
  • inspired to reach out to trusted friends and allow them to help carry their burden
  • challenged to be there for those around them who are grieving

 

ashleigh slater
She loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers. Learn more at AshleighSlater.com.

 

 

 

 

Me Too

 

Here’s what Ashleigh says about this companion e-book on her website

In Braving Sorrow Together, I weave together Scripture, personal stories, practical thoughts, and guest entries to comfort the suffering and encourage hopeful grieving.

Me Too offers you MORE stories of faith, community, and braving sorrow together from my friends and family. In this ebook, ten courageous women tell you their stories of faith, community, and braving sorrow with others when life is hard. Their voices vulnerably say, “Me too,” and invite you to bravely do the same within your trusted community.

***

If you already receive email updates from Heading Home and would still like to read Me Too, grab your copy at Ashleigh’s site over here.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for book recommendations for your fall reading list? Look no further!

Apparently October 3rd is a grand day to release a book.

Join me in celebrating with the authors of these five new releases, now available for purchase!

 

book recommendations

 

Click each title to read the Amazon summary. 

 

Where We Belong

by Lynn Austin

 

where we belong

 

I’ve been a longtime fan of historical fiction author Lynn Austin’s work, and in the past year I’ve had the privilege of meeting with her in person a few times. I adore her novels and it’s been fun getting a behind the scenes glimpse into the process of this book’s birth. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

 

Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It’s Not About You

by Sharon Hodde Miller

 

Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller

 

I’ve been reading Sharon Hodde Miller’s work online for quite some time, and she is a solid, biblical thinker and writer. I suspect the themes presented in this book will be uncomfortable in all the best ways, convicting me of my ongoing need to focus less on myself and more on Him. I’d also argue that the American society as a whole needs to hear and digest this important message. So glad Sharon did the hard work of getting these truths in print.

 

Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community when Life is Hard

by Ashleigh Slater

 

book recommendations

 

Ashleigh Slater was the first editor to accept one of my articles for publication on the website, Ungrind. I really enjoyed her first book, Team Us: Marriage Together, and I look forward to go deep into the message of this important topic. Every day that I look at the news headlines, it seems there is more sorrow, more tears, more tragedy. What a timely topic to address and discuss as the body of Christ.

 

A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions that Meet You in Your Everyday Mess

by (in)courage contributors

 

A Moment to Breathe

 

The (in)courage community has a new book! This looks like a beauty, and I know a number of the delightful women who have contributed to this volume of 365 devotions. Can’t wait to read my friends’ words and be encouraged to take a moment to breathe amidst the busyness.

 

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely

by Holley Gerth

 

Fiercehearted by Holley Gerth

 

I’ve read a number of raving reviews of this latest release from Holley Gerth, many of which are saying this is her best book yet. Grateful for Holley’s faithfulness to share truth in this generation.

 

 

Which of these book recommendations will you dive into first? 

 

This post contains affiliate links. 

When I saw the monthly book reviewers’ email from Tyndale Publishers advertising all of the new books they had available for review, I almost didn’t open it.

Almost There“I’m way too busy to commit to reviewing any books right now,” I reasoned. But something (or should I say Someone?) prompted me to open the email, and my eye caught the title, Almost There: Searching for Home in a Life on the Move, by Bekah di Felice. (Don’t you just love the title and the cover?)

Although I’d never heard of the author before, the description sounded all too familiar — because she was telling a story I knew inside out.

I hesitated again, fearing I wouldn’t have time to read and review the book within the time frame requested. But again, Someone prompted me to click “request” … and I’m so glad I did.

Bekah’s book, Almost There, is full of rich insights on the universal longing for home. 

Right after college, Bekah married into the transient military life. She describes the complex emotions of leaving home, including the spiritual component: “It’s as if the act of leaving is part of the equipping, as if God personally leads people out of familiar territory so he can tell them who they are.”

In her book, Bekah shares the ups and downs of moving frequently and living in vastly different parts of the United States. She is honest about the challenges of her husband’s deployment: the loneliness, the awkwardness of limited communication, the surprising realization of established independence, and the adjustment back to a new normal after reunion.

 

 

With conversational tone and an easy sense of humor, Bekah tucks nuggets of wisdom into the telling of her story.

“The timing is different for everyone … but it happens: Your sense of belonging outgrows its previous residence. …In the search for home, we all try on different places and relationships and hobbies that make us feel pretty, all along lamenting the fact that belonging refuses to be nailed down to exact coordinates. It denies us permanence. And that feels like betrayal.

I think that by nature we are agitated by this restlessness, by the enigma of belonging. We’re pestered by the notion that people and places and things are all important pieces of home but not the whole thing, at least not in themselves. Deep down we know there is a permanence of home that exists somewhere. There is a whisper of eternity that beckons in the heart of every one of us.”

 

The above quote perfectly captures what I hope to articulate through my upcoming memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. And I’d venture a guess that you can relate, too.

 

Again, Bekah captured the struggle in my heart with these words:

 

“Home doesn’t begin or end with a mailing address or a change in surname. I don’t think it is ever a total reboot. It is more of an ellipsis than a period, a continuation rather than a conclusion. It tends to be an ongoing list of people and places and experiences that have mattered, that have changed us in one way or another. It is an echo of the good legacies we have witnessed.

In fact, home is a lot like a poorly, categorized box containing all sorts of odds and ends: the surprising and familiar, the old and new, the bitter and sweet. It is mismatched in so many ways–not a start and end but an overlap, a tangle. We move away from it and bring it with us still.”

 

Besides making me think deeply about concepts of home and belonging, Almost There also made me laugh and nod my head in agreement on numerous occasions.

 

 

If you’re looking for a light read that will also make you think and relate, I can highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links have been used in this post. 

April is a good book month, hey?! I’m super excited about the release of these four new books, from authors that I’ve either met in person, on video chats, or via email. Join me in celebrating with them, and check out these great offerings!

A quick note: This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you choose to click through Amazon to make a purchase, I’ll receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance for your support! Happy reading! 

 

Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships

by Lisa-Jo Baker

new books

From the description on Amazon:

In a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last? Maybe by first becoming those kinds of lasting friends ourselves.

Lisa-Jo Baker has learned that no one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. And nothing can wound as deeply as unkind words from a friend. While we are all hungry for friendship, it’s the fear of feeling awkward and being rejected, left out, or hurt (again) that often keep us from connecting.

But what if we knew we could never be unfriended? Would we risk friendship then?

Starting with that guarantee from the most faithful friend who ever lived—Jesus—this book is a step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. It answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship—What are we afraid of? What can’t we change? What can we change? And where do we start?—with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, that lasts.

 

A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression

by Susie Finkbeiner

new books

A Trail of Crumbs is the second book in a trilogy by Susie Finkbeiner.

From the description on Amazon:

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

The strong narrative voice of Finkbeiner’s young protagonist from A Cup of Dust returns in this gritty yet hopeful sequel, sure to please her many fans.

One: Unity in a Divided World

by Deidra Riggs

new books

new books

From the description on Amazon:

Jesus didn’t say that the world would know we are his followers by our biting rhetoric, our political leanings, our charity work, or even by our knowledge of Scripture. He said the world would know us by our love for one another. Yet it’s so easy to put others at arm’s length, to lash out, to put up walls. Deidra Riggs wants us to put our focus on self-preservation aside and, like Jesus, make the first move toward reconciliation.

In One, Riggs shows readers that when Jesus offered himself up in our place, he was not only purchasing our salvation but also setting an example for us to follow. She helps readers understand that they are secure in God’s inexhaustible love, making them free to love others lavishly–not just in what they do but in what they say, what they don’t say, what they will endure, and what they will forgive.

Anyone who longs for unity in the church, in their family, and in their community will find in this book both inspiring examples of loving done well and encouragement to begin the often unnoticed hard work of building bridges with those around them.

 

A Bridge Across the Ocean

by Susan Meissner

new books

new books

From the description on Amazon:

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

 

***

Which one will you read first? What books are currently on your To Be Read List? 

 

 

Almost exactly a year ago, on January 4th, 2016, I received an invitation to contribute a chapter for the first ever book project published by (in)courage.

I had no idea who else would be contributing or how it would all come together in the end. All I knew was the title — Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real Life Engagement.

 

Craving Connection

 

Since I love (in)courage and I love writing, it was an easy “yes.”

I lifted up a feeble prayer that God would use whatever words He laid on my heart to bless at least one person. Twelve months ago, when I agreed to be part of this project, I had no idea how much God would bless me through the process.

When I received an advance copy in the mail and started to read the pages, I was astounded by how well all thirty voices came together with such harmony.

craving connection

We write about God. We write about friends. We write about community.

Most of all, we write about our craving for connection in this world as we seek to live according to God’s calling in our lives.

As the book’s website asks,

“How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community?

Craving Connection is a journey where (in)courage writers share real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to find out!

We all long for meaningful relationships, the Colossians 3:14 kind that fulfill our desire for unity and connection with God, our friends, and our community. But where do we start?

The (in)courage community invites you to grab a cup of coffee, pull a chair up to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.”

 

craving connection

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to share a few words in this collection, and for all those who have worked so hard behind the scenes to make it happen.

My prayer is that you will be encouraged and challenged by the stories shared in this book, and that you will find the connection you crave in the One who made you in His image.

 

Order your copy here

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.