Note: Copious affiliate links are included in this post, though not all links are affiliate links. :) You can read my disclosure policy here.
Over the years, I've found valuable resources to help with various life situations and struggles. Here are my top suggestions, listed alphabetically by category. Even though I'm providing links to purchase these items, you can always check with your local library to see if you can borrow them for free!
Autoimmune Protocol - Designed by scientist Sarah Ballantyne, the autoimmune protocol is based on her book The Paleo Approach. This book helped me to better understand the confusing world of autoimmunity.
GAPS Protocol - Created by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, the GAPS diet is designed to heal a damaged digestive system. I especially liked that the GAPS protocol was created by a licensed medical doctor and was not based on anecdotal evidence.
Heal Your Gut Cookbook - The first cookbook to provide recipes for all six stages of the GAPS protocol, this book helped us stick with GAPS.
Calm My Anxious Heart - This amazing book by Linda Dillow challenged me to grow in my faith as I Biblically faced my own struggle with anxiety.
Unmasking the Mess - My friend Julie Loos' blog is designed to offer Biblical insight and encouragement for those who struggle with anxiety.
Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days - Even though I've been a Christian for a very long time, I learned so much from this short class! Arabah Joy shares several ways to easily dive into God's Word like never before, and shows you how you can study any passage of Scripture on your own with free online tools. This class inspired me to create my Colossians Mini Study.
Inside Out and Upside Down: How Intimacy with Jesus Changes Everything - I had the incredible privilege of reading this book before it was for sale, and I loved how author Jennifer Hayes Yates takes the reader from Genesis through Christ's work on the cross. So often, I see people sharing the "Romans Road" to salvation, and while there's nothing wrong at all with this approach, I was saved by hearing about the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. I think it's very important to understand why Jesus had to die in our place, and this Bible study does an excellent job of demonstrating this point!
Precept Ministries - I've taken a few Bible studies from Precept Ministries and love how they are organized. They don't so much teach you about Scripture so much as they ask questions to help you make discoveries on your own and teach you how to study God's Word for yourself.
Building A Framework - I received this course through a bundle I purchased, and it's one of my favorite classes for a beginning blogger. Even though it's MUCH more affordable than many other similar courses, it still is chalk full of information to help you launch a profitable blog. More than that, creator Abby Lawson is also a believer and a super sweet gal and is completely trustworthy! (Note: can't quite swing the course cost? Abby offers a free blogging course called Launch A Blog that Thrives!)
Elite Blog Academy - The ultimate resource for creating a profitable blog, this is the course I took a few years ago that really helped me focus the direction of my blog. While I've opted not to truly monetize my blog, I believe that I could be profitable if I wanted to, thanks to the wealth of information in this course. That said, it comes with a HEFTY price tag these days, and I would only recommend it to those who have a passion for writing, a passion for the topics they write about, and the means to afford the course. You can read my more detailed review here: A Christian Blogger's Review of Elite Blog Academy. (Note: Although the price of this course is likely out of reach for many, course creator Ruth Soukup offers some excellent, FREE trainings that I highly recommend! Blogging Made Simple, the Blog Structure Blueprint, and even the Elite Blog Academy Blog are all wonderful resources that won't cost you anything but offer a wealth of information.)
Facebook Groups - I love that FB groups are free and super helpful! Three FB blogging groups that have been super helpful to me are Blogging Joyfully, Brilliant Business Moms, and By His Grace Bloggers.
Genius Blogger's Toolkit - Offered every October from the folks at Ultimate Bundles, the Genius Blogger's Toolkit is an excellent way to get a wealth of blogging ebooks and ecourses at an incredible discount. For less than $100, you'll find resources on blogging, social media, email marketing, making money, and so much more (exact products vary from year to year). All of the products are stand-alone items and aren't laid out in a step-by-step system like Elite Blog Academy or Building A Framework, but the information each bundle contains is excellent and extremely beneficial for any blogger wanting to grow. (Note: because the Genius Blogger's Toolkit is only available for one week each October, the link will take you to the general Ultimate Bundles sales page when it's not available. You can sign up for emails to be notified when it's live!)
Pinterest Organization in Trello - Since I don't use a Pinterest scheduler (see Pinteresting Strategies above), I needed a free way to keep track of everything I was doing on Pinterest. This course was perfect for this! More than that, it's also affordable and inspired me to use Trello for other parts of my blog as well.
Pinteresting Strategies - I was blessed to get this resource through last year's Genius Blogger's Toolkit, and it's been one of the BEST resources on Pinterest that I've come across to date! The best part is that most of the information she shares is for manual pinning, meaning that you don't necessarily have to have an expensive TailWind account (I can't afford that right now, so I'm always looking for information that I can apply without TailWind).
Faith & Spiritual Growth
A Place Prepared - My life today doesn't look anything like I expected it to when I was little. Through a series of hardships, the Lord stripped away my dross in order to show me more of His love, goodness, and faithfulness. At the time, I felt sorely unprepared for the trials He took me through, but after the various storms had blown over, I came to a much better understanding of His ways.
Behold Your God - My dad gave me this DVD set shortly after Turbo was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was one of the best things my dad could have done for me at the time, and I LOVED this series. (It didn't hurt that one of the presenters, Paul Washer, is one of my favorite speakers - his sermon Narrow is the Way is an excellent listen.) I knew God was good despite the tragic events of Turbo's difficult diagnosis, but just hearing these pastors expound on the greatness of God was super helpful in the weeks and months following Turbo's hospitalization.
Grace Goals - This has been far and away the best resource I've found for setting Biblical Goals. When we think of giving ourselves grace, it's usually with the idea that we're going to set aside something we had originally planned on doing. But what if Grace is actually the conduit for completing those tasks we don't feel we have the ability to accomplish? This is the premise that Arabah Joy focuses on in this faith-filled, grace-guided resource for believers.
Hope for the Hallway - If you're in a season of struggle, this short ebook is designed to offer Biblical hope and encouragement so that you can remain faithful while waiting on God to do the impossible.
The Total Money Makeover - I've read a lot of Dave Ramsey's books, but this is the one that had the most impact and that I found to be most helpful. With its practical, step-by-step guidance, it simultaneously offers hope to those in a financial mess while also showing the way out. And for those who already have a good handle on finances, it can be an encouragement to keep on doing well.
Master Your Money - This was one of the first financial books I ever read. My dad recommended it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and greatly benefited from it. Many of the principles are similar to The Total Money Makeover (although this one was written first), but the writing style is quite a bit different, and I learned a lot from its suggestions.
More Than Just Making It - I loved this book by Erin Odom. Because I found myself in a situation very similar to hers, I really resonated with her story. Many Christians were offended by the book because she addresses sticky issues like government assistance when income is incredibly tight, but I appreciated that she supported her thoughts with Scripture and offered some new ideas for coping with tight finances. You can read my own controversial blog post on government aid here.
Whole30 - While I'm not a huge fan of keto diets or extreme fads, I found that doing a Whole30 was beneficial. I especially like that there's a set time for it, that the "rules" are extremely clear, and that there is a wealth of information and recipes that accompany this lifestyle plan.
RealPlans - I'm terrible when it comes to planning meals. It's something I'm aspiring to improve on. The RealPlans online planner has options for GAPS, Whole30, Paleo, Autoimmune Protocol, and other similar styles of eating, which is hugely helpful when trying to prepare gluten-free, diabetic-friendly meals! It's the ONLY planner I've seen that encompasses these types of menus.
Clutter Free - Don't let the simple title of this book keep you from diving in! I so appreciate how author Kathi Lipp addresses clutter from a spiritual standpoint. This has been one of the most helpful books on decluttering that I've read to date, and I've consumed quite a few. If The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up didn't do much for you, this book might well be exactly what you're looking for as you address the deep-seeded reasons you feel stuck in your cluttered space.
Kamikaze Cleaning - This was one of the first homemaking books I ever read. And even though I've never had a half-eaten lollipop stuck in my carpet as she described, I did feel that my house was about as disastrous as the home she depicted, and it made me feel better that I wasn't the only one whose home was in shambles due to her hopeless homemaking skills.
Make Over Your Mornings - I thoroughly loved this short course from Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom! Each day's lesson comes with a (mercifully short) video and assignment. With simple, doable action steps, this course can have a big impact with just a few tweaks to your already-busy schedule.
Make Over Your Evenings - A companion course to Make Over Your Mornings, I think this one helped me even more than the Mornings did, especially since I struggle with keeping an evening routine. Put together in the same format - short, daily video with a small, daily assignment - this was a great fit for my homemaking efforts.
Ambleside Online - If you've never heard of Ambleside Online (AO), I recommend that you check it out! This is a FREE Charlotte-Mason-inspired curriculum for grakes K-12. I love some of the methodology that Charlotte Mason taught, and I especially love that you can educate your kids without spending an exorbitant amount on textbooks, courses, or tuition.
The Pig in the Pantry - This book made me laugh, and it resonated with many of my inner thoughts about homeschooling. I loved the author's bold honesty. If you need some humorous homeschooling encouragement, this might be the book for you.
Trello - Believe it or not, I actually use this free online tool for planning out our homeschool year, keeping track of projects I want the spark plugs to complete, and managing various aspects of our homeschool schedule. It's very simple to use (searching for a few Youtube tutorials will go a long way toward helping you figure out its capabilities), and the best part is that it's FREE! Oh, how I love that word, especially when it comes to keeping educational costs to a minimum!
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell - This planner was a bit flimsy in that the soft cover didn't seem to support the pages quite enough, but I LOVED using this planner for our homeschooling needs. One of my favorite parts was going over the character qualities I wanted to work on with each of the spark plugs! Although I don't like having one planner for life and a separate one for homeschooling, this planner impressed me so much that I was willing to keep two planners at the same time.
Christian Sex Advice - From my blogging friend Arabah Joy, this series of posts offers Biblically-based advice for an area of marriage that is often considered taboo in Christian circles. God gave us intimacy as a beautiful gift, and we should glean all the Scripturally-sound information we can about this topic.
The Excellent Wife - Although I found this book to be too rigid and works-based, I did appreciate the section about confronting your husband as a believer in the Lord. There will be times when we as wives have to do so, but figuring out how to do it in a manner that's in keeping with Biblical submission is hard! I appreciated this book's perspective on this topic.
Feminine Appeal - I needed this book when I was learning how to be a better wife to Jon. I appreciated that it focused on things that a wife can do to help her marriage and didn't focus on how to try to change your husband (because that's the Lord's job, not ours!). (Special note: This author's husband has been under scrutiny for some serious issues. However, I still feel that this book is Biblically sound and worth reading, so I've included it here. If you are uncomfortable supporting their ministry, simply borrow the book from a friend, or choose a different recommendation from this list.)
Love That Lasts - This was the first marriage book that I actually enjoyed! It was well-written, and I appreciated that both husband and wife offered each of their own perspectives. I especially liked the fact that it was engaging and anything but dry, but mostly I felt that it was Biblically based and realistic.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility - It might seem odd to include this book here, but I honestly feel that this is a book no married couple should be without. The author is not a Christian, and there are a few things I disagree with here and there, but over all, this book explains why it's so beneficial to understand how God designed our bodies to work. More than that, hormonal contraception is not only extremely dangerous health-wise, it can also cause your body to abort a baby if one is conceived, so this book offers one alternative. (I'm not saying that all couples need to follow this type of family planning, but I do think it's important that we as believers understand the consequences of hormonal birth control.)
What's It Like Being Married to Me? - Linda Dillow's honest look at her own marriage and the application readers can take away from this book make it one of my favorite marriage resources. You'll be challenged to life a life more glorifying to God and more helpful to your husband!
You and Me Forever - This is probably the best marriage book I've read so far (and I've read quite a few). I loved how Pastor Chan asks honest questions that really make you think, and I appreciated his honestly when talking about a husband's command to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Good, heavy stuff to dwell on!
Evidence Not Seen - Darlene Deibler Rose tells of the horrors of being in a WWII concentration camp and all of the things the Lord teaches her through her years of captivity. Her trials and loss will break your heart, but the beauty of God's work in her life makes this one of the best books I've ever read. (Some parts of this book may not be appropriate for all ages.)
The Heavenly Man - This book gets off to a slow start but grows on you until you cannot put it down. Brother Yun's dedication to the Lord is inspiring and humbling. Learning about the underground church in China will boost your faith, remind you to pray for the persecuted church, and help you deepen your walk with Christ.
The Hiding Place - If I could recommend just one book aside from God's Word, this would be it. Corrie Ten Boom's honesty and story-telling ability make this a must-have for all believers. The lessons she learned first from harboring Jews during WWII and then as a prisoner for doing so are an incredible testimony to God's work in her life.
Peace Child - Have you ever wondered whether or not the Gospel story is woven into each and every culture? Missionary Don Richardson begins to wonder if the tribe he works with isn't capable of understanding the story of redemption because of the cut-throat, back-stabbing culture they grew up with. However, God isn't limited by man's misunderstanding, and the beautiful story that unfolds is a clear picture of salvation. (Please note that this book covers some very heavy topics and may not be appropriate for all ages.)
Torches of Joy - John Dekker, missionary to the Dani people of New Guinea, shares this amazing story of a stone-age tribe who are introduced to the Gospel and their reaction to hearing the Word of God. I was amazed at the faith of these new believers and by their own efforts to spread the Gospel to the surrounding tribes, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.
Count to Nine - My friend Ruthie Gray wrote this book to help moms like herself who struggle with losing their tempers. I appreciated and needed her Biblical reminders and Gospel-centered methods of overcoming mom anger.
When Your Mama Heart Hurts - This is my own series here on the blog that I wrote after wrestling with the trauma of seeing one of my spark plugs struggle with his health. If you are a parent, you probably know the heartache of having to do what's best for your child even when it hurts both you and him. Our Heavenly Father also knows this kind of hurt, and we need to run to Him as we deal with it in our own parenting efforts.
Big Truths for Young Hearts - Although the writing style of this book is a little cumbersome, author Bruce Ware breaks down difficult theology into bite-sized truths for young kids in an amazing way. We plan to go through this book several times over in the coming years.
The Jesus Storybook Bible - Confession time: I'm not a big fan of most storybook Bibles. They tend to eclipse so much of God's Word that it's difficult to get the full Gospel picture woven throughout Scripture. But I feel that this book is vastly different. It does an excellent job of following the Gospel story throughout the Old and New Testaments, but it does so in storybook form with engaging pictures that will grab even very young attention spans! My only issue with it is that when Jesus appears to the disciples following His resurrection, Thomas is included, whereas in the actual Gospel accounts, he isn't present. Over all, I've found this to be an excellent starting place for very young learners.
The Book of Virtues - Do you wish your kids could learn some of the virtues that used to be commonplace, like the value of hard work, honesty, and integrity? The Book of Virtues aims to bring back some of these valuable, life-long lessons that we all need to acquire. With a wide variety of poetry, short stories, mythology, and Biblical selections, I loved this book when my mom read it to me as a child and am now enjoying reading it to my own spark plugs. I'm also interested in checking out The Children's Book of Virtues for my younger spark plugs!
Odyssey Adventure Club - We really enjoy having online access to all of the Adventures In Odyssey episodes. While some of the characters in Odyssey do things that aren't permitted in our home, Adventures In Odyssey has opened the door for conversations that we wouldn't have had otherwise, like how to handle a friend's divorce or why we don't watch soap operas. Most of the episodes have clear Biblical and/or moral lessons that have really benefited our family. Best of all - this is a non-screen activity!
A Praying Life by Paul Miller - This book comes highly recommended in many Christian circles. While I honestly didn't love it and don't agree with some of what the author taught (I would have preferred more Scriptural support for his views rather than the anecdotal support he usually provided), I loved the prayer card method he describes in the book and feel it's a worthwhile read because of that.
E. M. Bounds on Prayer - If you want to be very convicted about kicking your prayer life into high gear, this is the book for you! So often, I find that books on prayer almost seem to let the reader off the hook for poor prayer simply because we're human and need grace. And while yes, we ARE human and DO need grace, sometimes, we also need a good kick to remind us that prayer should be one of our highest priorities as believers!
What resources have you come across that you love to share about? Leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me!!