The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You

The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You

by Lisa-Jo Baker

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Overview

The best-selling author of Never Unfriended opens up about midlife and what it feels like to have outgrown those teenage jeans—but finally grown into the shape of our souls.
 
“I want to give Lisa-Jo’s book a standing ovation.”—Aarti Sequeira, chef and TV personality
 
Do you ever wonder how you woke up one day with all the responsibilities of a grown-up who secretly enjoys buying groceries in bulk, can no longer recognize the tween celebrities on the magazines at checkout, but is still surprised when a Starbucks barista calls you “ma’am”—because your inside self is frozen in time to about twenty years ago?
 
So does Lisa-Jo Baker.
 
In these intimate reflections on midlife, Lisa-Jo invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them—beyond what the media, the mirror, or the magazines say. Through gutsy, beautiful storytelling, she admits out loud what most of us are thinking about marriage, parenting, the bathroom scale, and how badly we all want to buy those matching Magnolia Market mugs.
 
Her delicious stories come from not being afraid of who she is, because Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder, and the muffin top—and that these are all good things. She’s not asking you to seize the day, just to make sure you actually see it for all its wildly ordinary glory.
 
Welcome to the middle!

Praise for The Middle Matters

“What a thought-provoking collection of reflections and wisdom! Through personal stories about love, loss, and life in the middle, Lisa-Jo invites us to take a long look inside our own mind’s secret nooks and crannies, which aren’t nearly as dark, scary, or ordinary as we might think.”—Layla Palmer, The Lettered Cottage blog

“With captivating wit, hard-won wisdom, and breathtaking honesty, Lisa-Jo has written a love letter to the delicious middle.”—Mandy Arioto, president and CEO of MOPS International and author of Have More Fun

“With Lisa-Jo’s guts as our unfettered guide, may we finally learn the sumptuous truth of our years: that a grilled cheese sandwich without the middle is just toast.”—Erin Loechner, founder of OtherGoose and author of Chasing Slow

“Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for reminding women everywhere how important it is to find meaning in the midst of the confusing middle.”—Joy Prouty, artist and educator

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525652847
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 81,199
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

With her ability to laugh at herself and her mistakes, Lisa-Jo Baker continues to gather women around her into a community that is tired of hearing how things are supposed to be (perfect or easy) and passionate about hearing how things actually are (hard, scary, stretching, and wonderful). A former attorney, sought-after national speaker, and longtime community manager at (in)courage, Lisa-Jo is the best-selling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood. Her writings have resonated with thousands and have been featured on HuffPost Parents, BibleGateway, Fox News, Christianity Today, IF:Table, and more. She is the cohost of the Out of the Ordinary podcast and lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband of more than twenty years and their three very loud kids.

Read an Excerpt

Welcome to the Middle!

Once upon a time, I had no idea what a muffin top was. That time, my friend, has long passed. I’m in my forties now, and me and my muffin top—that chubby little bulge of tummy that refuses to stay tucked away behind the top button of my jeans but insists on grinning around at the world over the top of my waistband—are on the closest of terms. Maybe more so than I would like.

It is one of the landmarks of my middle. Literally. And metaphorically. Because when I bump up against that chunky midsection that I’m trying to accept, it’s with the same surprise I feel late at night after I’ve exhausted another day of being in charge of my own life and the lives of all these people who live in our house, plus the cats.

I keep waiting to feel like a grown-up while going through all the grown-up motions. I’m not sure if these are the things you’re supposed to say out loud. But isn’t it weird to have all the responsibilities of a grown-up and look like a grown-up and have a grown-up job and a grown-up mortgage and still not be sure how or when to change the air filters?

It’s a shock to find myself here in the middle. I’m pretty much at the halfway point of my life. What on earth? In true muffin-top character, it is not glamorous. This middle is mostly the part where it’s easy to pass by without slowing down long enough to pay attention. You just want to tuck that chubby midsection into your pants, drape a flowy shirt over it, and call it “good enough.” You know what I’m talking about, yes? What this middle, muffin-top stage of life looks like?

Maybe like me you’ve now lived longer with your man than without, and that’s insane. Because when you were eighteen, maybe you also swore you’d never be anyone’s wife or mother, and now he knows every nook, cranny, and (let’s face it) pockmark of your “wonderland.” And you are a reluctant connoisseur when it comes to the entire range of his nightly snore repertoire. You both wear glasses and secretly enjoy going to Costco. Your kids are toddling into middle school or high school instead of just around your living room. And while on the outside you look like a grown-up, your inside self is still frozen in time at your favorite age, but you no longer recognize the tween celebrities featured on magazines at the checkout aisle.

Instead, you leaf through the home decor mags while waiting to pay for the mound of food it now takes to feed your constantly starving tiny humans who are no longer tiny and sometimes walk into the living room, wink, and call you “Woman!” Your kids are human Shazams for all the songs you no longer recognize on the radio, and when you watch movies these days, you’re rooting for the parents instead of the angsty teens.

There are so many soccer and football and dance practices that you often drive to the wrong location or show up at the wrong time on the wrong day. And maybe there’s still one little left in the house who gets schlepped along to all the bigs’ sporting events, and you end up feeling bad for her and sometimes for yourself that you both have to be on the bleachers so much. None of these are bad things—they’re just the pebble stuck in the bottom of your shoe that at first is only annoying but on the hard days makes you want to throw that shoe across the room.

Welcome to the muffin-top middle!

Normal feels all stretched out and squidgy around the edges when you’re splitting time and to-dos, yet it’s the stuff of life and marriage and kids and work that everyone lives. And now there’s also the reality of retirement as more than just that infomercial you used to fast-forward through but also something you will actually need in the no-longer-distant future. And there’s the no-less-essential investment of fighting for time to keep dating the man you’re raising kids with so you feel like a couple and not just a couple of people running a summer camp together.

Add to that the more mundane (but still significant) figuring out of new school systems that require you to give five days’ advance notice to make a change to the bus schedule and how that complicates organizing playdates for while you’re out of town. (Although your kids tell you that you’re embarrassing them and “It’s not a playdate, Mom; it’s called hanging out.”) But you’re the grown-up, and while this still surprises you, this is the work of grown-ups: organizing the boring details that keep a family chugging along.

This is the stuff of our seasons right now. How we wake up to morning breath and steal quickie Sunday afternoon love and hope we can also squeeze in a just-as-sexy nap. These are the years of driving the curving bends of our neighborhood between school and practices and parent-teacher conferences and games and study sessions and recitals and the gas station and the grocery store, every morning and afternoon and evening and never getting tired of the golden, glorious trees while we often get tired of the driving.

This is just what we do. We drive and feed and keep breaking our days and our lives wide open. We have winding conversations about sports and pop culture and try to explain Kim Kardashian to our tweens while our middles get squishier. It takes work to keep paying attention, to keep parenting with intention, because there’s a lazy side of us that just wants to hit cruise control and sleep in now that our kids are sleeping through the night. Please tell me you know what I’m talking about here?

But the stakes are higher now because our kids can remember our mistakes. Combine that with the side of insanity that comes with finally understanding what work you feel meant and fulfilled to do, while also constantly having to juggle it with the schedules of everyone else who lives in your house, including the pets. I’ve been giving eye drops six times a day to one of my kids and also one of my cats. What on earth? At night the fish need to be fed, and I never remember to actually go pick the tomatoes we tried to grow in our garden this year.

Over and over and over again.

The middle is the place where our lives really live. This is the place where we have grown into the shapes of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shapes of our jeans.

The middle is the marrow. The glorious ordinary of your life that utterly exhausts you but that you might have finally started to understand in ways you didn’t at the beginning. Listen, I’m not asking you to seize the day here; I’m just asking you to actually see it. Even if just out of the corner of one eye. The middle is worth remembering while you are actually living it, because you won’t pass by this way again.

So it’s worth slowing down long enough on random afternoons to really look around at your life and your husband and the human beings you are raising together and let it sink in that you’ve grown up and that it’s good. You are living at the very center of what will be your story. Right now. Let’s stop long enough to read a few lines of these lives out loud. Because trust me when I tell you, sister, the middle is worth reading.

The middle is ridiculous and terrible, so funny and so much fun, and also so exhausting. But it’s the stuff of the stories our kids will one day tell about us. These are the days of miracle and wonder. The stories we will one day tell each other as we laugh at all those times we spent all those hours carpooling kids all over the planet of our neighborhood. These are the stories that will line our empty nests one day. We are living the memories that will be passed down to the ones who are still living their beginnings. The middle is the gift you didn’t know you were right in the middle of, friend.

Seriously.

Let’s relish the middle. Let’s savor the middle. Let’s embrace the middle in all its mundane glory. Because maybe the middle isn’t so bad. Maybe we don’t want to hide it, ignore it, or miss it. Sister, maybe the middle is the part where it really starts to get good!

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Middle! 1

Part 1 Why the Middle of Your Muffin Top Matters

Your Age Is Not a Dirty Word 9

The Scale Is Not the Boss of You 18

My Favorite Muffin-Top Photo 24

The Love Story of Turning Forty 31

Part 2 Why the Middle of Your Marriage Matters

When You Think Your Love Story Is Boring 39

That Time I Thought I Lost My Wedding Ring 42

A Time to Fight 45

Ordinary Is Sexy 56

To the Father of My Children 59

Part 3 Why the Middle of Your Parenting Matters

Parenting Is Do-Overs Times Infinity 67

Sobbing in My Minivan over Honor Roll 77

What You Don't Know About Parenting 84

No One Disappoints Quite Like a Hero 93

A Promise for My Daughter 101

The Life-Saving Quirks of Our Kids 105

A Love Letter to Three of the Loudest Children I Know 112

Part 4 Why the Middle of Your Living Room Matters

Our First Home After Fifteen Years of Marriage, Three Kids, and Nine Rentals 119

Step Away from the Mugs 131

Your Front Door Is Your Superpower 136

Part 5 Why the Middle of Your Failures Matters

Why I Showed My Kids My One-Star Book Reviews 143

Financial Free Fall 148

How to Fail in Public 155

Part 6 Why the Middle of All Those Sports Practices Matters

When Our Kids Have "Unrealistic" Dreams 163

What Happens When You Lose 167

Gladiators 176

When Parenting Looks Like a 5K Race 184

All Hail the Sidelines Moms 186

I Can't Believe What I Saw You Do Last Night 190

Part 7 Why the Middle of Your Friendships Matters

A Pocketful of Friends! 197

The Gift of Years and Words 207

Church in the Parking Lot 215

Part 8 Why the Middle of Your Faith Matters

For the Thomases 227

It Was Hard to Believe My Pastor on Sunday 235

My Faith Leaks 238

Life and Grace 245

When You Wonder If You Matter At All 249

Note to Self 253

With Thanks 259

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The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
rcahill 4 days ago
In The Middle Matters: Why that (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You, Lisa-Jo Baker provides inspiration and support to women who have reached middle-age. Rather that approach these years as a time to get through, Baker explains that this is a time in life when women can thrive. She builds on the premise that God loves and values you, so you should endeavor to do the same. Baker walks the reader through physical changes, evolving marriages, parenting as your children age, strengthening friendships, and building on your faith. Each section provides encouragement and food for thought and reflection. This book would be an excellent read for any woman trying to juggle family, friends, home, and self.
PrincessGlor 16 days ago
This was an awesome read! Unfortunately my "middle" kept getting in the way of my reading time so it took me a bit to finish it as I wanted time to chew on this one as I read it. I loved the chapters on Faith and Friendship and the parenting chapters were spot on. Lisa has masterfully crafted a read that reminds us of the beauty of our everyday lives and that every memory matters! The "middle" is an important part of our lives and I know I needed that reminder. I highly recommend this book!. This passage really struck me: I'm not the first one to stand desperate in a boat, desperately afraid of the storm, wondering why the heck Jesus is asleep on the job. Those first shaky disciples and I, we look out at the waves and the dark, angry clouds and we're so afraid of what's coming. We want to control it or outrun it or survive it. And all our faith is slipping through our fingers, and out boats are wobbly and our Savior is asleep. Jesus wasn't asleep because he didn't care. He was asleep because He wasn't afraid. I received this book from the author and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Karrilee 20 days ago
I have said it several times: Whenever Lisa-Jo Baker writes something, I'm gonna get my hands and my head and my heart all around it. (And more than likely, I'm gonna share it and tell all my friends to read it, too!) So it was no real surprise to find me on the Launch Team for her latest book, The Middle Matters. I've been on all of her launch teams to date... I knew that going in this book was different in that it is a collection of essays and they are all based on the Middle --of life, of parenting, of marriage, faith, and doubt, of --you know, our middles!? I love Lisa-Jo because she is real... she is honest and open and she just tells it like it is. She is full of grace and love and she makes room at any given table and scooches over on any given couch. Her message rings loud and clear: You are welcome here. And you feel that with every story she tells! There is something that is so needed for voices like hers --for hearts like hers-- in our world right now! She is an InCourager (--ya see what I did there?) and a Champion and, gah! We need to be people that love well and follow hard after Him (while being Oh So Real about our messy lives!) and Lisa-Jo shows us how to do that! I have found myself in the middle of oh so many things right now... I could list them off, but really --so could you! We are ALL in the middle of something, and the author reminds us that the Middle is not a bad word... it's not a punishment or something we just try to rush through. Instead, in this series of essays written from her real life in the middle, she encourages us to stay present and to live fully... to trust the process and trust the God who is Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end) and Who is also right with us, in the middle of every situation, every struggle, every stretching and growing moment... every victory and answered prayer as well as every let down and waiting season! He is with us and for us... and as you read these pages, you'll get the feeling that Lisa-Jo is that kind of friend, too! Mostly, I guess what I'm learning as I read through this book is this: I'm in the middle of learning to actually LOVE the Middle and not just try to rush through it to the End --or to whatever is Next and New! I'm in the Middle of staying Present in my real life... and giving myself grace and living life open-handed and open-hearted and if/when you need a friendly reminder that you are not alone and to just keep going through the Middle... The Middle Matters and Lisa-Jo will be just the friendly encouragement you're looking for! I highly recommend this book! ~Karrilee~ (As a member of her launch team, I did receive an advanced copy and this is my honest review!)
MelissaNC 25 days ago
"The Forties are the love story of life in the middle-in the middle of kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder, and the muffin top, And all of these are good things." In my opinion, the quote above from The Middle Matters sums the book up perfectly. The intended audience of this book is definitely women in their 40's Lisa-Jo Baker does an excellent job meeting women where they are. She is very honest, transparent, and relatable in the book. As a woman in my early 40's, I found myself laughing at a lot of her stories I could relate to and celebrating this stage of life that is unlike any I have experienced before and will experience later in life. The middle really does matter! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishers through Net Galley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Ginger Hudock 26 days ago
Lisa-Jo Baker is a successful writer who observes everyday life from her vantage point as a 44 year old Christian wife and mother. Her writing style is humorous and her stories are relatable for many women. Unfortunately I was not one of those women. The decade of my life from ages 38 to 48 was the worst of my life. I went through huge marital problems that ultimately led to divorce and then was a single working mother for 7 years. I got remarried at age 48 and now, at age 61 am still happily married. My two children are both college graduates and are out on their own, but the marriage problems and divorce had significant, lasting impacts on them. I could not enjoy Baker's book, because the situations she describes in her life bring back many unhappy memories from my life If you are a happily married, Christian mother between the ages of about 30 and 50, you will probably enjoy this book. It could be somewhat encouraging for you to enjoy your life now. If your life does not fit this demographic, then, like me, I suggest skipping it. I received a complementary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
JulesQuilts 29 days ago
I really enjoyed Lisa-Jo's essays in The Middle Matters! Even though I'm past (way past!) the middle of parenting as an empty nester, there was so much enjoyment in reading how she paddles/races through life when the whole household needs to go in different directions. I appreciate her teaching to look to find the extra in the ordinary days. I like her writing on it is just a fact that our bodies change as we age! I'm learning to embrace my muffin top and lopsided hips by remembering the love for the 5 babies that lived there. It is easy to read as you are waiting at a ball game (we are a non-sports family), or for music lessons, or one just before bed! Short sections.
JViola79 29 days ago
My life sits sandwiched between two generations of mothers. I am blessed to yet have my mom with me. She is truly the best mom I could ever have had. She is my best friend and more so, a beautiful example of strength, courage, faith, and perseverance. Throughout her life, mom has held onto her faith in Jesus through good days and hard times. Her quiet yet strong will has shown me how to move forward in life, moment by moment, trusting the Lord to go before me. She is generous, always putting others before herself. Her sense of humor is priceless as she can brighten up a day with a funny story or quip. On the other side of me, are two women in the throes of motherhood. They are facing the challenges of raising children in the midst of an ever changing world. They have hard questions, face their doubts, and are working diligently to make homes and families on a foundation of faith and love. And here’s me – in the middle. Still learning while at the same time hoping to live by example. I am kind of surprised to find myself here. OK, the right word would truly be, shocked. I am shocked to be in the middle as I wonder – how did I even get here? It happened in the blink of an eye. The middle can be thought of as the area between here and there. A central point. Here is what I have come to discover as I have been processing Mother’s Day … We are all in the middle of something in life. But may we not be in a rush to get from here to there or we will miss the blessing God has for us right where we are. In the middle. I read The Middle Matters by Lisa-Jo Baker around Mother's Day and somehow I don’t think it was a coincidence especially as I read: “The middle is the marrow. The glorious ordinary of your life that utterly exhausts you but that you might have finally started to understand in ways you didn’t at the beginning. Listen, I’m not asking you to seize the day here; I’m just asking you to actually see it. Even if just out of the corner of one eye. The middle is worth remembering while you are actually living it, because you won’t pass this way again.” (Lisa-Jo Baker) I’m grateful for my middle. God has positioned me here because He knew I still had much to learn from my mom, while I yet need to pour out. God has placed me in the middle of my story. Not the beginning, when I was young and unsure of who I was. Not at the end, on that day when I will be all He ever meant for me to be. No, He has placed me in the middle. The place where my life is being lived out and the story is yet being told for all my family to see. This book will encourage you right where you are as we are all in the middle of life! *I received an ARC of this book to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
KBShank80 29 days ago
I’ve been anxiously awaiting Lisa-Jo Baker’s new book since the first moment I heard about it. She has a way of sharing real life stories and encouragement in the most relatable, encouraging way. The Middle Matters invites readers into the Lisa-Jo’s life as if you were friends sharing a meal at her Tuesday night small group. The book in a couple sentences: Although the title might lead readers to believe this book is for women in the middle of life or the middle of motherhood, this book is really for every woman. Through her experiences as a wife, mama, friend, and believer, Lisa-Jo highlights the joy and beauty found intermixed with the trials and disappoints of everyday life. Her words bring solidarity and encouragement to where we live and the moments that often feel mundane and so routinely uninspiring. She challenges readers to embrace the life they’re currently living and find the extra in their ordinary. What I liked most: I was a little worried this book might be too much parenting, but I was so pleasantly surprised. Lisa-Jo shares stories about her fears, failures, and wins as a mama in a way that doesn’t feel superficial and doesn’t overwhelm the book. I should have known she’d find a way to balance this part of her life as a part of her book. The truth is that marriage, parenthood, friendship, and faith are all part of her life (mine too) and share valuable space in how we live. I almost cried in the orthodontist’s office when she shared about an incident with her son. It was a story I could have written a million times. Her husband’s words were the words I needed hear as well and I’m grateful she was brave enough to write the words I hold so closely, the ones I wish weren’t true and the parts I long to change. Most surprisingly, her essays about faith were a welcomed gift for me right now. She bravely shares about her doubts and growth in a way that embraces the reality of our faith journeys. Not only does she teach with her words, she teaches through the honesty and vulnerability of what she shares. I am so thankful she included every part of this book. I might change: I would love to go even deeper into these topics with a study guide. A quote to remember: “It’s the church that labeled Thomas a doubter. Jesus simply called him a friend and showed up and let old Thomas have at it. What if we made more room for doubt and less demand for fired-up, frame-worthy faith?” I received an advanced copy from the publisher.
Earnest_Mom 29 days ago
Having been a fan of Lisa-Jo Baker since Surprised By Motherhood, I was thrilled to receive her third book to review.  Lisa-Jo has an amazing way of storytelling that takes your life, intertwines it with her experiences and once you put one of her books down, you feel forever connected.  The Middle Matters definitely delivers true to Lisa-Jo form.  It is honest, loving, filter-free and raw; when I read that last line of the final page, I set the book down and felt again forever connected with her. This book is essential to moms and women of all walks, whether they are in the beginning of their middle, the middle of their middle or nearing the end - definitely a MUST READ. 5 stars, all day, every day.
DeadRelativeCollector 29 days ago
Lisa Jo wonderfully shares excerpts of her life and how she, and we too; can always find Jesus right there with us if we are looking to see him in the middle. The middle of our messes, our joys, our sadness, our illness. The middle where both the best and worst parts are being lived.. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 30 days ago
I received an early copy of this book in exchange for a review. Lisa Jo writes like any good best friend and big sister. She will lay out the good, the bad, and the ugly while simultaneously cheering to the end. Whether it’s sharing tears and toasts about parenting (read Sobbing in my Minivan over Honor Roll) or promoting body positivity (read The Love Story of Turning Forty) or talking through faith and friends (read all the essays from parts 7 and 8). I know I will turn to LisaJos words again and again as I navigate my own journey. She never grabbed my attention with anything like stunning prose. But her down to earth style is perfect for the everywoman. May this work have a fruitful life around the world.
ColoradoKristen 3 months ago
If you're lonely or aching to be understood or maybe even feel a little underwhelmed or overwhelmed because things in the middle of life don't look as you hoped, you'll love The Middle Matters by Lisa Jo Baker. Lisa-Jo doesn't ask us to seize the day but to see it and the gifts it offers in our very ordinary days. After all, the middle is worth remembering before these days are gone. Lisa-Jo writes with all 5 senses, and this book is like taking a deep dive into descriptive language that carried me to the conclusion, "This girl gets me!" In some regards, Lisa-Jo and I are in different life stages, but this book is still an eyepiece of sorts that helps me see the good in where I am today. Deep, real encouragement here!
Librarycataloger 3 months ago
I knew, when I chose to read and review The Middle Matters, that I was well beyond the targeted age group and that I have already experienced much of the subject matter. I am so glad that I had this opportunity becauses my age hasn't prevented me from gaining valuable information and receiving insight from this book. Author Lisa-Jo Baker touches on topics such as aging and weight during the middle years; marriage after the early years; parenting older children; friendships that have endured through the years; and our faith during the middle years. I was expecially drawn to this last section because I truly believe that faith is ever-changing. I don't mean that during your middle years your faith isn't valuable; I just know that my faith has grown and deepened as I have matured. I especially appreciated a quote from For the Thomases, a chapter in Why the Middle of Your Faith Matters. On page 234, Baker states that "I can feel how He likes me. Not the pretty version of me, although I'm sure He likes that part, too." "He isn't ruled by my rules or insecurities. He is the God of the wide-open sky and and the wide-open road, who comes running to meet His kids and knows each of us by name. Who loves us, and more than that, who likes us." I consider these as wonderful words of encouragement for all ages! The author shares her own personal experiences to show that life is made up of happy times, difficult times, and the times of "ordinary, uneventful times" and she offers encouragement and some wise advice for dealing with all of these times. And even though I would recommend this for women experiencing their own middle years, I feel certain that everyone will benefit from reading The Middle Matters. I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the author and Waterbrook Multonomah and I was not required to write a review. These are my honest opinions.
NKT 3 months ago
I laughed and cried my way through this collection of essays by Lisa-Jo Baker about life in the middle. I appreciate this book because it was so relatable, encouraging and empowering. Although the target audience is most certainly the midlife Christian woman, I believe Lisa-Jo Baker’s work is relatable to all. My favorite essay is the one on how Baker’s husband will never run through the airport for her but loves her all the same.
ecclecticnurse 3 months ago
YES. YES. YES to this book. Yes to this insightful, spell-binding, truth-telling, toe-stepping, warm hug, and wet eyed book. Lisa Jo has offered up this incredible piece of her beautiful soul and it welcomes you to jump in and become friends and to realize the beauty in this stage in life. In the midst of all of our fears and hurts, each essay offers a blanket of truth, treasure, and grace so that you can go forward with confidence and joy.This is a book to highlight and to give as gifts to all of the beautiful women in your life. I would highly recommend this book. I was given and ARC to read and review. All opinions expressed are my own.
LauraM1 3 months ago
In this middle season of my own life, this book is the book I had no idea I needed! Through a beautiful collection of essays, Lisa-Jo Baker vulnerably shares the things that have been on her heart and gives us permission to lay down our collective facades and do the same. Her voice rings true for many of us who find ourselves in our middle 40's wondering who we are now, who we'd like to be and how we want to move forward. In her sharing the questions she asking, the peace she's making with things that have troubled her and the things mom, marriage and faith that bring her joy, she encourages us all. Lisa-Jo lets us know that okay to break up with the need for the perfect image and embrace exactly who we are in this moment. And that's something I don't think we can hear enough.
Amber81 3 months ago
If you are dragging your feet and trying to run from the middle, this book is for you. You will find yourself embracing everything you are (and not) as you dive into this book. Through a series of essays, Lisa Jo Baker will have you laughing and crying. Along with the tears and laughter, your head will nod as you realize this book was written for you. Lisa Jo Baker’s writing is so relatable and she will become the bff you need in your life. Why the Middle Matters will leave you feeling blessed to be in this part of your life and you will embrace every inch of it. Ladies, the middle really does matter!
musicmomof2 3 months ago
This was such a great book! I love the essay form because if you want to skip a chapter you can or you can jump around. There were chapters that didn't relate to me ("A Promise for My Daughter" was one - I only have boys), but I still read them and still got so much out of them. You will laugh and you will cry and you will shake your head in agreement with Lisa-Jo. I can't wait to go back through and read it again!
LColumbus 3 months ago
If you liked Surprised By Motherhood you'll love The Middle Matters! The Middle Matters is a continuation of the behind the scenes truth of Lisa-Jo Baker's life. While many are critiquing this book saying it is ONLY for women in mid life (40 something's) I found I was able to relate as someone still in my 20's - as we are all in the middle of something! Written as a collection of essays, The Middle Matters is similar to a choose your own adventure book. Readers can start at any one of the sections and move through the book however they like. Lisa-Jo speaks with candor and honesty about the nitty gritty areas of life most often left out of conversations, but the one's we wished we could stop having internally with ourselves. This book is a reminder that we don’t need to wait for that magical moment when our lives feel or seem perfect, there is something to appreciate in each ordinary day. I received an advanced digital copy of the book from Waterbrook and Multnomah in return for my honest review.
EmilyBoyMom 3 months ago
My emotions were all over the place during "The Middle Matters," by Lisa Jo Baker. I haven't read her work before, but after this, I am seeking out whatever else is out there. Written in essay format, "The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra) Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You" is a collection of the author's thoughts on multiple issues, from sports with kids, finding true friendships, navigating middle aged marriage (!) to finding our faith in seasons of doubt. Every time I thought I had found THE chapter that most applied to my life at the moment, I found another that was even closer to what I was facing. I can't say for sure that Lisa Jo doesn't have spies around, because she hit THAT close to home, but I really felt like this book spoke to me right where I am for this season. I would recommend this book for any woman who is approaching the "middle" portion of their lives. To realize this time is not a stopping or slowing down point, but a wonderful place of acceptance and acknowledgement is very freeing. Lisa Jo delivers this message in a thoughtful, supportive way. She writes as if she is that friend who has been where you are and still pushes you to walk with your head held high to be the best YOU for this season of life. I don't think you can find an essay in this collection that won't touch your heart, make you laugh, or make you weep. Lisa Jo has her own unique style, rife with honesty and vulnerability. This book will remain nearby, as I have quotes I would love to retain for future reference. Take this title down and order, because I know you will love it as much as I do! I was excited to be a part of the early readers group, thanks to Penguin Random House. I was not required to leave a review, yet honored to be able to! This book has really spoken into my life.