There are lots of great resources out there to help us learn more about compassion, world changing, grace, hope, and not messing up our kids.  Here are the books, websites, and people that have shaped my  journey.

World Changing Organizations:

International Justice Mission –  “Rescue Thousands.  Protect Millions.  Prove that justice for the poor is possible.” IJM is like a superhero.  I stand in awe of their persevering courageous work to rescue people out of real modern day slavery.

World Vision – WV is known for it’s child sponsorship program, which is outstanding.  Our family loves their gift catalog. “We believe in a full solution to poverty and injustice. We provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by disasters and conflict, partner with communities for long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.”

Blood:Water Mission –  I admire the earnest and practical methods of this empowering organization.  In 2013 our family raised $20,000 for their Clean Water work in Africa.  It was crazy.  They are great.

Haiti Partners – They do powerful education and empowerment work in the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere.  In the most absurd string of events we were able help raise $34,000 for HP’s work after the 2010 Earthquake.  We have chosen to work with them again in 2015.  We are friends with Co-Director Kent Annan, the kindest World Changer.

Sixty Feet – When my family focused on Orphans in 2012 we did not know that some orphans are imprisoned.  The children are in chains in prison.  This is horrifying.  This passionate, noble organization cares for their immediate physical and medical needs while pursuing justice and resettling them in families.

DuPage Pads – This is the local homeless shelter in Wheaton, IL.  They do life-changing work, providing comprehensive services using their vast networks and creative partnerships.  Our family focused our compassion projects on the work of DPP in 2014.


World Changer Books:

A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power by Jimmy Carter – It was funny to buy this book at Costco, but I did.  I was impressed with how clearly President Carter explained the major problems of our world.  Very accessible.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder – I read this book to learn more about Haiti in 2010.  The story of Dr. Paul Farmer (much like the abrasive “Dr. House” from TV).  The stories of poverty and ingenuity were captivating. I love this author.

The Locust Effect:Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence  by Gary Haugen – Beneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence—like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality—has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.”

Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach – “Originally published as The Journey Toward Reconciliation and based on Lederach’s work in war zones on five continents, this revised and updated book tells dramatic stories of what works—and what doesn’t—in entrenched conflicts between individuals and groups.”  I heard Lederach in a podcast.  His strength and gentleness had my full attention.  Blessed are the Peacemakers.


Parenting Books:

Scream Free Parenting – Really good for parents who don’t even scream (how do they do that?).

The Highly Sensitive Child – I was able to exchange my frustration and fear about my kids’ intense reactions for empathy.  It then helped me re-frame my own childhood.  A grace-laden game changer.

The Explosive Child – “A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children.”  It feels like a documentary of our homelife in 2009.

Playful Parenting – Highlights the importance of confidence and connection.  I literally pray to become a more playful person almost every day.


Soul Care Books:

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown’s ideas about vulnerability and shame are revolutionary.  I could write 47 blog posts about it.

The Journey of Desire – You are supposed to want more.  Be on the lookout for that Holy Discontent.

Power of a Praying Life – I truly believe that anything we try to do without prayer will fail.  This revolutionized the way I pray.

The Power of a Praying Parent – Some people don’t like the author’s kind of cheesy, old-school voice, but her books taught me how to pray for my kids.  I go through seasons where I pray through her prayers in this book and Power of a Praying Wife on the treadmill.  A whole person work out.

Listen to My Life – This is “a unique visual tool that helps you invite God into the process of reviewing your past, assessing your present and continuing to walk with God into your future.”  I have done this intense work.  It will change your life.

Your soul is the most important part of you.  I’m keeping a running tab of personal soul-related posts on the page of this blog called Soul.


Children’s Books:

The Quiltmaker’s Gift – A beautiful and profound book about giving and it’s transforming power. My kids were silent when we read it.  Totally captivated.

The One and Only Ivan – I read this out loud to my kids at Costco, in the car, at meals, and on the couch in less than 2 days.

The Jesus Storybook Bible – My all-time favorite bible story book.  Whenever we read it I’m not sure who’s learning more, me or the kids?

The Tale of Despereaux – A beautiful story of forgiveness.  You will cry.



People I Learn From / I Want to Be Like:

Philip YanceyWhat’s So Amazing About Grace and Soul Survivor changed my life.

Shauna Niequist – Who doesn’t want to be like Shauna?

Brené Brown – I mentioned her book Daring Greatly above.  I simply haven’t encountered anything like her work.  If we all embraced our vulnerability and saw it as strength the world would be a different place.


Beauty to Carry you Through:

Christopher Parkening – My very favorite music,  beautiful classical guitar.  I don’t know how many papers, consulting projects, and meals I’ve cooked to this music.

Over the RhineNobody Number One was my quiet anthem as a new mom. I Want You to be My Love is my song to my husband.  Darlin’ is my all time favorite Christmas song.

Young Oceans – This is mellow worship music, my current favorite is Come to Us O Lord.

Danielle Crilly – Lose yourself in the vivid colors, haunting beauty, and secret tenderness of her paintings.

Innocence Mission – “Some Clear Joy is Coming” carried me through years of infertility. “Love that Boy” is the song to my son. And “I Have Loved You” is God’s love song to me.

John Mark McMillan – I mostly enjoy quieter music, but his music moves me.  Carolina Tide and the lyric “and come back like babies” has made me cry more than once.

Peace Like a River by Lief Enger – One of my all-time favorite books.  I’m both desperate for and afraid of a movie version.

Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner – This ignited by biblical imagination.  What stories are going on beyond the story?

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok – A beautiful classic about art, faith, family, and crisis in an Orthodox Jewish family. I’ve read it at least 6 times.


Please share the books and beauty that shape your journey in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas. Let’s keep learning together.


© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2014-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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