Soothe your soul with our summer reading list

One of life’s greatest joys is the ability to just sit in a comfy chair and read a book. If you take that joy and put it outside in the sunshine, maybe near some water and you'll multiply it by at least a thousand. They say that a good day at the beach beats any day at the office so pack a bag, and head out to your favorite sunny spot, even if it is no farther than your own back yard, and unwind with a good book. 

Your summer reading can start with something that will soothe your soul, clear your mind, and maybe help you start to make sense of the chaos that surrounds you. If you are feeling alone and untethered, maybe one (or all) of these books can help you feel grounded and safe once again. 

One of the best things about this list is that you do not have to read long chapters. You can read a page or two and then close your eyes, listen to the birds and absorb the inspiring words. And, should you fall asleep with a light, summer breeze drifting past your face, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing either. 

1. Empowered: More of Him for All of You by Mary Carver, Grace P. Cho, and Anna E. Rendell

Part of the (in)courage book list, this book helps you find empowerment in many places and many ways including emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. The chapters start with a relevant Bible verse and then a scenario that describes the chapter's theme. At the end of each chapter, you will find a prayer of thanks plus a section of reflection so that you can think about your own examples and how you can be more empowered or empower others in that chapter’s theme. 

Unlike other self-help books that only deal with simple catchphrases and cliches, you will find yourself reaching deep within your emotional well, far beyond what you may be comfortable with at first. 

2. This is My Happy Place. A Positivity Journal for Finding God’s Light by Hope Reagan Harris

Think of this cheery little book as a fun workbook to make your life a bit brighter. Right away you will be asked to describe your happy place and your work has begun. This is how each chapter works. You are given a positive statement for the day from the author, tips, and tricks for what you can expect to get from the chapter, and then the chapter will wrap up with a fun assignment. 

Chapter One ends with you writing a ticket to travel to your own happy place. On your ticket, you will write your dreams for the journey and what you expect to happen along the way. Additional chapters include rewriting your thoughts, letting go of what is holding you back, and turning comparison into cheering on others. 

A sunny day, some ice-cold lemonade and this fun, positive book should have your summer looking brighter than ever. 

3. 100 Days of Praise and Positivity, A Devotional Journal by Maghon Taylor.

Bright colors will greet you as soon as you open this charming book. Each entry is only two pages long and starts with a short Bible verse. On one page you will see a single word in gray. This word is meant to guide you through the day’s concept. You will also have an exercise. 

In Chapter One, Aim for Joy, you will be asked to hand letter the word “enjoy” with the author guiding you through the process. There is also a space to write what you are thankful to God for on that day. You will keep going through this process for the next 100 days, taking this time to focus on a single thought or a single word and really exploring what that word might mean to you. 

The hand-letting exercise can be so rewarding that you may want to continue learning and mastering this skill. You can do just that with Happy Hand Lettering, also by Maghon Taylor.

4. Sweet Tea for the Soul, Down Home Devotions to Comfort the Heart

Both a book of faith and of country wisdom, this book of down-to-earth devotions also promises to deliver a bit of humor and most importantly, the message that so many people are searching for in their lives. 

Short and to the point, you get a Bible verse and a faith check on one page and a beautiful saying on the other. You start with “Fellowshipping Fireflies” and you work your way through to “Compass” which explains how a compass works but also reminds you that the Bible is a compass for your soul. 

As with any devotional, you can read each day’s lesson in the morning or the evening and you can read ahead, going back to revisit concepts as you need them. It is also perfectly fine to choose what you most need for that day. Let the book guide you to get the most out of it. Use the beautiful blue silk ribbon to mark favorite passages or those that have served you on the days that were the most trying. 

5. Blue Skies, How to Live in Extraordinary Expectation of What’s Around the Corner by James Barnett

Divided into four parts, the author takes you on an adventure through his own life and the lessons he has learned along the way. At the end of the book is a study guide so that you can reflect and move deeper beyond the stories and what they meant not only to the author himself but to you, the reader, as well. 

The chapters are short but written with a hearty charm that draws you in and makes you feel like you are reading something that was written to you on a personal level. Each chapter ends with a repeat of the main point plus a question to ponder. 

The study guide section asks questions from each chapter allowing you to revisit your thoughts and maybe dig a little deeper into your thoughts and feelings. 

6. The Beach is Calling, The Campfire is Calling, and The Mountains are Calling

Each of these beach bag-sized books is filled with 90 devotions based on the theme of the book. Each starts with a verse or piece of Scripture and ends with a short prayer. Each book does have a lovely satin ribbon so that you can mark your place or mark your favorite passage. 

The Beach is Calling features devotions for rest and relaxation. Too often we forget how important it is to take a few minutes or even a whole day just to relax. Sometimes we feel guilty if we sit down for a few minutes as if the world will end without our personal, constant motion. With hope, this book may help you realize that it is vital to take those minutes of peace to just sit and be still. 

The Campfire is Calling is about warming devotions for the simple life. We do not need everything that we see. Sometimes what we need is to build a campfire and share time with our thoughts. 

The Mountains are Calling is about peace and solitude. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. For some people, that difference is a lack of a nourished soul. When your soul feels empty, you feel empty. When you have tended to the health of your soul, you can find peace in the empty spaces you may find in your life. 

Find a peaceful spot, your happy place, and go there as often as you can. Pack a snack, a beverage, and one of these lovely books. Spread out a blanket or sit in a chair. Get cozy with nature. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of birds or the rustling of the wind through the trees and then drink in the words in one of these books. Let the lessons help you, inspire you and guide you and then come back for the next. You can never overfeed your soul.