Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

Empty Shelf Challenge Books #11-16

Jon Acuff challenged us to read more this year with his Empty Shelf Challenge. I’m joining him and so many others in filling our empty book shelves. It’s been a while since I’ve updated my list, but I’ve been busy reading! Here is a quick recap of my last few books.


empty shelf 11

#11 Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

I really wanted to do an entire post on this book, but I’ve decided to dedicate a podcast episode to it instead. Yes, this book is written for men. And I read it. And I couldn’t believe how much I related to this book.

I have a husband and two boys, so my intent was to learn more about what makes them men. I learned so many things I didn’t know, and that I can now use to help me better understand how the men in my life are wired for adventure. But I also learned quite a bit about myself from this book. It is amazing what you can learn when you are willing to step outside out of what is considered normal, and truly want to learn from a book. I highly recommend this one!



#12 First Impressions by Mark Waltz

This is a book I read for work. It’s about creating great first impressions for your guests. It is a quick read, and intended for churches, but there were lots of great pieces of advice that you can apply to any situation where you are welcoming people.



#13 Plain Faith by Ora-Jay and Irene Eash and Tricia Goyer

I’ve interacted with Tricia online, and she was kind enough to send me a copy of this book. While I typically do not read Amish books, something about this one made me want to read it. It is a true story about an Amish couple who faces a horrible tragedy, but ends up finding Jesus and leaving the Amish faith. I loved the story of grace, and also appreciated so much of the detail behind their religion. My dad was raised Mennonite, and many of the topics they discuss are ones that described my dad’s childhood. This is a good read and was a nice break for me in terms of genre.

Tricia’s team actually sent me two copies of this book, and I’d love to pass them on to someone else. If you’d like a copy, simply leave a comment, and I’ll randomly pick two winners.


#14 Simple Small Groups by Bill Search

This is another book for work. It was a great look at the background behind small groups within a church. It described what works and what doesn’t, and offered great advice about sticking to the basics. This was another quick read full of helpful information.


#15 Dream Year by Ben Arment

I’ve known Ben for a number of years, and am always impressed with his strategy and vision around making your dream a reality. I was honored to get an advance copy of his book, which will be released in August of this year. (Sorry- you can’t read this one yet!) Ben’s book covers how he has helped Dream Year participants make their dreams a reality over the last four years. As always, Ben is full of wisdom and practical, helpful advice to encourage you to stop waiting for your dream to happen and instead take steps towards it.

Ben is hosting sixteen different Dream Year Pitch Nights across the country. Your ticket will get you admission as well as a copy of the book. I highly recommend you check it out and reserve a ticket. I’ll be at the Rolling Meadows, IL pitch night, and would love to see you there! You can learn more at www.dreamyear.net.


#16 Moment Maker by Carlos Whittaker

I’ve followed Carlos for a while, and had the opportunity to meet him a few years ago. It has been fun to watch his family as they have embraced every day moments and make something memorable. This is an encouraging and uplifting read that will push you to look for the beauty in the everyday moments. Carlos encourages you to stop waiting for the big moment, and embrace the ones right in front of you. It’s a great book!


You can read more about Books #1-10 here, here, here and here.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear!



  1. Debi Estopellan

    May 28, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Plain Faith sounds great! I love Amish books and so does my mom. I would really be interested to hear this particular view.

  2. Since I’m leading small groups at my church I’ve got to check out that one you have here. Thanks Tammy.

  3. I’m reading a book called Buy This Land by Chi-Dooh Li. The tie-in with Guatemala makes this book extra interesting to me as our family prepares for a return trip to this country this summer.

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