this one’s a keeper!

Order this book!  Do not pass GO.  Do not collect $200.  Just order this book and hold a treasure!

If you have ever navigated the rocky waters of marriage or parenting, frustrations with finances or your physical body, failures or friendship, or simply the exhausting ups and downs of your own fickle heart in its deeply personal dance with faith in Christ, this book will meet you right where you are!  Lisa-Jo welcomes you in with a generous bear hug, abundant smiles, genuinely compassionate eyes . . . and maybe her favorite tacos!

I’m talking about The Middle Matters.  I devoured it in a matter of days.  Then immediately turned back to the beginning to read it again.  I highlighted so many sections that I quit taking notes and just let the beauty of (extra) ordinary wash over me.  Her words are memorable enough to declare careful record-keeping unnecessary!

I nodded, I chuckled, I sighed.  I let the tears fall freely.  I broke into heaving sobs.  I laughed out loud.

Lisa-Jo Baker’s new book will take you on that journey.  You will visit completely opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and every point in between.  Why?  Because it is a collection of stories about life.  Real life.  And that is exactly the glorious, mysterious, maddening, terrifying, but also thrilling and wondrous adventure each and every one of us are traveling!

Lisa-Jo throws open her bright blue door, urging us inside to hang around her kitchen table with the remains of last night’s art project still lodged in its cracks!  To join the conversation, unabashedly sharing our own stories!  Encouraging us to look around, notice, and celebrate the smallest to biggest moments.  To tell it like it is!  To welcome others to step into our moments, give words to sights and sounds and smells and ALL the feels that make connections with perfect strangers and declare them sisters!

Months have passed since I first read this book, yet essay titles and catch-phrases from The Middle Matters keep popping into my head, offering understanding and clarity to so many of my own (extra) ordinary moments!

Friendly reminders:

. . . that it’s more than OK to “love like superglue,” to treasure a “pocket full of friends” that grows fuller and deeper with each passing year, and to understand and appreciate any opportunity to give “the gift of words,” especially lingering over a cup of hot tea!

. . . that there is a never-ending wedding “ring” that surrounds me more than any band around my finger, and that extraordinarily ordinary moments are truly the romantic and sexy ones in our marriage!

. . . that “parenting is do-over times infinity,” whether I am the parent looking for grace or the daughter offering it to my own mom and dad, that there are other moms who really do “sob in the mini-van” when their son or daughter finally, FINALLY overcomes their toughest challenge, and that a mother’s heart can promise things like “I will always come for you!’

. . . that the true beauty of a woman is not measured in inches or pounds or wrinkles or saggy arms, but in first breaths and steps, gotcha days, late nights, misunderstanding and forgiveness, heart-to-heart conversations, strength and never, ever giving up…

.  .  . that more than anything, we have a Savior who loves us like crazy, is big enough and strong enough to field any fiery question we launch and still offers truth and grace, who will always (always!!!!) be so thrilled when we seek His face, who will stop everything to meet us where we are with a jubilant and convincing welcome of “I’m just so glad you came!”

The Middle Matters is a keeper!  It is worth reading again and again and again.  Share a chapter with your hubby, your son or daughter, your girlfriend.  It will give you words for ALL the THINGS you want to say.  It will help you grieve what breaks your heart, but also help you rejoice in the smallest to biggest gifts!  Lisa-Jo’s heart and insight will alter your own, helping you to celebrate and treasure it all – the good, the bad, but especially the in-between.  Because the middle matters!

The Middle Matters by Lisa-Jo Baker, published by WaterBrook, is available wherever books are sold (also in audio, voiced by Lisa-Jo, herself!).  Be sure to listen in to the Out of the Ordinary Podcast on Wednesdays, with Lisa-Jo and her long-time friend, Christie Purifoy, to enjoy more and more stories that will touch your heart!


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