“Here are your sticks of Crisco,” said LuAnn, “they nearly pushed my suitcase past the fifty-pound limit!”

Grasping two packages holding sticks of Crisco, we both began to giggle when she pulls out another plastic bag filled with Magic Sponges. To clean my white tennis shoes, of course!

As an expat in London, I find myself requesting the oddest things from American friends who visit. My mother-in-law once brought an entire bottle of Downy wrinkle release spray in her suitcase because small closets and large American wardrobes equal wrinkles. And who has time to iron?

My friend Kelly carried two Rodan+Fields skin care regimens in a second suitcase to London. To thank her, I shared the wealth of anti-aging products every morning and evening. The results, we all agreed, were worth the weight.

After settling into the small guest bedrooms on the top floor of our London terrace house we meet around the table in the garden with plates of sandwiches. Conversation begins with a predictable common thread pulled between the layers in two decades of friendship. What books are we reading and how have they made an impact?

“Look, you have your books organized by the color on the spine,” LuAnn notices as we walk back into the house, “I love that.”

“Yes, that drives H a little mad. He has trouble finding specific books,” I admit sheepishly.

Spines shelved in the powder room on the ground floor match the turquoise front door. Titles on the three shelves in my office are categorized by writing endeavors: books on the craft of writing, journals holding inspirational thoughts and quotes, favorites on Sabbath rest, and stacks of authors I return to often.

The next morning at that same table in our pajamas and bare faces, LuAnn brings a list of new-to-her titles from the shelves that pique curiosity. Kelly jots down notes in a tiny journal between sips of coffee.

“By the way, what do you use Crisco for,” asks LuAnn.

“Gingersnaps. They are a traditional family road trip snack on summer vacations. The recipe uses shortening, not butter,” I admit.

A summer without books is like life without friendship. Books, like friends, make life less lonely and sweeter. That’s why I’m delighted to invite you to join me at the Grace Table Summer Book Club with Rhythms of Rest.

In the same way my enduring friendship with LuAnn and Kelly remind me of who I am when busyness causes me to forget, Sabbath reminds us that we belong because we are already accepted.

Summertime grants a sabbatical from predictable routines and guilt-free permission to enjoy life in the spirit of ease. And God’s intention for Sabbath isn’t that rest be a season, a two-week vacation, or an escape from the mundane, but a gift experienced every week.

6 Reasons Why Joining the Book Club Matters to You

You know you need rest but your circumstances make it impossible

You secretly dream of being sick in bed so you can have permission to sleep or read or binge watch television.

You long for rest but don’t know how to make Sabbath realistic when the people in your house have needs.

You think Sabbath means rest on Sunday and that day is the busiest, most chaotic day of the week.

You associate Sabbath with legalism and following a set of rules you know you will break.

You are lonely and need to know you belong.

If you nodded your head to one or several of these scenarios, I hope to break the myths swimming in your head about Sabbath. Join us and remove the roadblocks keeping you from God’s rest.

How Do I Join the Summer Book Club?

Buy Rhythms of Rest here — one for you and one for a friend. Sign up for the Grace Table Summer Book Club here. Begin reading now. On July 1st join me live from London on our private Facebook page (only accessible to club members).

We all carry proverbial suitcases of things that weigh us down but the friendship of Jesus in Sabbath makes the journey easy and light.

Let’s meet at the Table, abide in his presence, share our curious questions, become the people who glorify God by trusting in His rest and laugh at the days to come.