(As you all know already, but it's worth stating... the following are general recommendations. I don't agree with everything in every book I like, etc.)
Broken Minds by Steve and Robyn Bloem
Comprehensive book on mental illness in the body of Christ. Great read if you know someone who struggles with these issues, or if you just want to be a more sensitive member of the body.
When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada
Asks some really tough questions on pain and suffering in the Christian life. Has lots of great thoughts, and I definitely feel the author is qualified on the subject.
Mitford Series by Jan Karon
What Andy Griffith is to old-time TV, this series is for literature. Just really relaxing and fun to read.
Madman by Tracy Groot
Not exactly "refreshing," but still fiction. Well-written retelling and embellishment of the NT story of the demoniac. Kind of gave me the willies, but there's nothing like thinking about stuff like that to underscore the amazing power of God.
Blink by Ted Dekker
Don't care for all of his writings (the phrase "gratuitous violence" comes to mind- my opinion, of course) but... this is my favorite. Interesting look at the idea of foreknowledge.
Coconut Crunch Delight (awesome for church dinners- always a hit!)
1/2 c. butter, melted; 1 c. all-purpose flour; 1 1/4 c. flaked coconut; 1/4 c. packed brown sugar; 1 c. slivered almonds; 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix; 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant coconut pudding mix; 2 2/3 c. cold milk; 2 c. Cool Whip
In a bowl combine 1st five ingredients; press lightly into greased 13 x 9. Bake @ 350 for 25-30 min. or until golden brown, stirring every 10 min to form coarse crumbs. Cool. Divide crumb mixture in half; press half into same baking pan. In a mixing bowl, beat pudding mixes and milk. Fold in Cool-Whip. Spoon over crust. Top w/ remaining crumb mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with strawberries if desired. Yield: 12-16 yummy!!! servings
Perfect Boiled Egg (no laughing please- I hate guesswork and this makes me happy)
Place eggs in cold water, salt the water. When water hits the rolling boil point, turn it off, and cover pan with lid. Set timer for 17 minutes. (Run cold water over eggs as you peel them.) Voila! Perfection every time. (and yes, here in Alabama we pronounce this a "bulled egg")
All classical guitar music by John Williams
P.F. Chang's - really love their Crispy Honey Shrimp or Chicken and Shrimp in Lobster Sauce.
Cheesecake Factory - cheesecake, of course ;o)
Relaxation in General:
Mary Kay's Mint Bliss Energizing Lotion for Feet & Legs- tingles and smells minty!
Candles, candles & candles (although Nathan has outlawed all that smell as if something is actually cooking when it's not ;o) - I still love the apple scented ones from Cracker Barrel.
And since I'm becoming more 'heavily pregnant'- let's not forget any seat that can recline and has a footrest!