I do not feel good about June being over. Not good at all. I’ve been a summer person for the last few years, so I’m hoping July lingers a bit more. Our apartment complex has an amazing, clean pool that I frequent during the summer months, always with a book in hand. Two of the books I read this month were digital downloads from our library so I had to read them on my iPad. I pretty much hate reading on my iPad, but when I have to do it in the sun it’s almost unbearable. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way…. Either way, extra time at the pool allowed me to read four books this month, and I don’t hate that!
This is the most dedicated to and in love with reading I have ever been – I’m so happy! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t totally confident in my follow through when I made reading one of my top ten goals for 2017. But thanks to my Power Sheets and a little bit of discipline, I have successfully read at least two books each month of 2017. For some, that’s not much, but for me it is a great success!
Last month I mentioned that I was going to be traveling for work and therefore would have plenty of airport time to read! I don’t think I read more than a chapter on my trip – ha. On my morning flight from NYC to STL I tried so hard, like really hard, to read. Just a few pages in I succumbed to my tiredness and slept on the tray, while sitting in the middle seat. My apologies to the ladies who were sitting on either side of me as I’m sure you had some part of my person on you. Even without the reading time on my trip I was able to cram in two really wonderful books during the month of May!
April was such a good book month. I was able to squeeze in a lot of reading time, which was good because I had some catching up to do from March. All of this extra time was a combination of choosing to prioritize reading and a work trip that meant a lot of time on a plane + waiting in the airport. I’m not mad about it.
I was actually supposed to finish Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman in March, but I gave myself a little bit of grace and finished it in April instead. I still touched on it briefly during last month’s post, but wow…what an amazing piece of literature. I purchased the book (along with every other christian marriage book under the sun) while we were engaged, but I never got around to reading it. Now that I’ve read it, I so wish I had made this book a priority because it is just full of quality, applicable information. Sheet Music is all about healthy sex inside of marriage, so it’s not for everyone BUT if you fall into that category and you haven’t read it click right here and dive in the minute it arrives on your doorstep.
When I was in high school Karen Kingsbury novels were pretty much the only books that I read. She is a Christian novelist that pens stories that will just rip your heart out. At least that’s the effect they had on me. I was hoping to start her series on the Baxter family over again, but our library didn’t have that series available for digital download. Just a few years ago she wrote a spin-off series featuring one of the characters from the Baxter series so I decided to start there. Leaving was just as good as I remember all of her other books being. A very easy read that was nearly impossible to put down. I don’t like reading books off of my iPad, but they are just so much easier to fly with and since I don’t take notes or highlight novels it works. I’ll be reading the next book in May on another trip to the East Coast.
Talking As Loud As I Can
I also read this book on my iPad — what’s with me? Truth is, I finished Leaving in the middle of my trip so digital was my only option. If you are niether a Gilmore Girls or Parenthood fan, this memoir by Lauren Graham may not interest you. But if you are a fan of Gilmore Girls and / or Parenthood you’ll love it just as much as I did. Lauren Graham is a loveable person as is, but it doesn’t hurt that she plays two incredible roles on two different T.V. shows. I’m not even a die-hard fan of either show, but having her behind-the-scenes perspective was so fascinating. Talk As Fast As I Can was also an easy to read, hard to put down book. Lauren is also the author of a novel, but I don’t have plans to read it. She’s just too good at being herself.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
Denmark wasn’t super high on my travel wish-list, but that all changed a couple chapters into this book. The Today Show had a segment on Hygge (hoo-guh) that I happened to watch, and it caught my interest. A few weeks later one of my favorite bloggers shared a Hygge book in her monthly book review so I did a bit more digging. Hygge is basically the art of coziness. The Danes are the happiest people in the world, partly because Hygge is a significant element in their culture. I loved this book…it fascinated and inspired me. Not only do I have a burning desire to visit Denmark, I’m looking forward to incorporate Hygge into our lives. As a Christ follower, I will be conscious of how consumed I become with these coziness practices, but otherwise I love everything about it. My favorite Hygge concept is that the longer a dish takes to prepare, the more Hygge it is. Being in the kitchen is one of my favorite things. My next mission is to find a luscious recipe that will require a week of my attention. There are a million books on Hygge that I haven’t read, but I’d highly recommend this one!
There is a whole host of books on my list right now, and aside from the next Karen Kingsbury novel I haven’t decided what I’ll be reading. Things are a bit crazy in our home this month so I don’t expect to get through four books – but maybe three!
I’m a little disappointed with myself because I didn’t finish two books in March. We’re a few days into April and I’m still wrapping up book number two. But I’m going to show myself a little bit of grace and make sure I finish two books in April (not including the March book). I’m flying to D.C. for a work trip so I should have no problem with this!
March kicked off with a pretty intense Francis Chan book on marriage titled, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. I apparently already read part of this book because I had done quite a bit of highlighting. Francis Chan is not timid in his preaching or writing, and given the subject of the book I was prepared to be shaken. Certainly, I was reminded to keep an eternal perspective in my marriage, but this book didn’t dive as deeply into the subject of heaven as I was hoping it would. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed because it truly was an enlightening book, but I would like to read more on the subject someday. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity will stay on our book shelf, but I don’t have plans to read it again soon.
I’m still reading Sheet Music, but I don’t have to finish it to tell you how I feel about it. Engaged? Read it (through chapter four). Married one year? Read it. Married 30 years? Read it. I actually purchased this book before our wedding but haven’t read it until now and I super wish I had. If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you probably know that I’m pretty open and think we should discuss this topic more :) Married and engaged Christ followers, you need to read Sheet Music book. Immediately.
When you work from home like I do, you get to enjoy rainy days so much more. We’ve had nothing but rain this week and it has me in a very cozy spirit. I’ve been seeing the Danish term Hygge(hoo-guh) pop up all over the place. Hygge is a Danish term for enjoying life’s simple pleasures – sign. me. up. I’m going to dive into The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living the very second I finish Sheet Music. I can’t wait!
I haven’t selected my second book for April, but it will probably be something light. Probably still non-fiction, but I need a little space to digest some of the faith reading I’ve been doing. It doesn’t do much good if I read the words and don’t apply them to my life! Let me know if you’re reading something great.
Book Club for One
I’m going to take you into my book club dream for just a moment. My book club is comprised of incredible women who need book club like we all need sun right now, in February. We live for book club. On book club night, we gather for dinner and stay seated around the table late into the evening. We can’t bring ourselves to end our time spent sipping wine, lost in meaningful conversation about the pages we traveled this month. So, we just stay sitting. We sip. And we continue conversing. It’s the best.
However, that’s just the book club that happens in my dreams. The opportunity for that community has not presented itself yet, but I’m looking forward to when it does. In the meantime, I have decided that I can still have a book club. I call it a book club for one, but let’s be honest – Lincoln comes too.
Reading as a Goal and a Tool
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably heard me talk about #PowerSheets. I use #PowerSheets as a tool to set, cultivate and achieve good, meaningful goals. The yearlong sets are sold out, but you can still pre-order the six-month set. I cannot recommend highly enough! Anyway, one of my goals for 2017 is to read two books each month. Every month I will read one book on marriage and one book for leisure. January has come and gone (what?!) and I achieved 1/12 of the goal – huzzah!
I read Sacred Marriage while we were engaged. Sacred Marriage is written by Gary Thomas and in this book, he poses the question, “what if God designed to make us holy more than to make us happy?”. Sacred Marriage was, and is, a huge influence in our marriage, but I wanted to read it again to keep the knowledge fresh. It was just as good the second time around, if not better. It was certainly more meaningful now that I have a year-and-a-half of marriage under my belt. I’m hoping to do the full study someday! If you’re married (or getting married) and striving for a God-honoring marriage, Sacred Marriage is a must read. And lucky for you, the book has been released with an updated cover. It’s pretty.
The Broken Way
A few years ago, the book One Thousand Gifts took the world by storm. Ann Voskamp has a way with words unlike any other, so when I saw that she was releasing another book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Husband came through at Christmas and I found The Broken Way under our tree. He taped the wrapping paper TO the book, bless his heart. The Broken Way revealed places in my heart that I didn’t know existed. I walked away from reading Ann’s latest book with a renewed view of my brokenness. Of course, I appreciate and recommend the content, but I could probably read a book on garbage if Ann wrote it.
Coming Up: February
I’m already half way through Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. This book is hard for me to put down, and I don’t often feel that way about books. While I was reading chapter seven I felt like Erin was writing a story on me. I’m looking forward to reading the second half. I might even finish tonight!
I will be reading The Mingling of Souls for marital inspiration and guidance. I’ve been meaning to read this book by Matt and Lauren Chandler for quite some time. Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church in Texas and I really enjoy listening to podcasts of his sermons.
What books are you reading right now? Let me know if there is something I simply must add to my list – I’m all ears.
Image Source: Bloglovin
Every once in a while several of the Instagram accounts I follow start posting about the same book. These campaigns always grab my attention and I’m inclined to purchase the book being promoted. That’s how I got connected with “Unashamed” by Christine Caine. I started reading “Unashamed” while we were in Mexico, but I decided to press pause and read it when we got home. There is a lot to process in this book and I felt like my beach state of mind wasn’t able to give “Unashamed” the thought it deserved. Last night I finished “Unashamed” and I am still feeling blown away.
Christine Caine, the author, is a cool lady. The first thing you need to know about Christine is that she is from Australia, but her heritage is Greek — already awesome. Christine is also the founder of Propel Women, which is an organization that I follow on social media. She travels around the world speaking to groups of men and women, and she is currently touring in the United States! But my absolute favorite of Christine’s projects is A21, an anti-human trafficking organization that she and her husband founded. “Unashamed” really reveals her heart behind this ministry.
Freedom is packed in every corner of this book! Christine explains the difference of shame and guilt, and more specifically, how Jesus sees the two emotions. So often we associate shame and guilt as the same thing, but they are not! Of course we should feel guilty for our transgressions, but we were not intended to feel shame. I was amazed, AMAZED, at the number of stories in scripture where Jesus frees his children from the weight of shame. “Unashamed” is full of them!
A lot of Christine’s knowledge on the power of shame comes from what she sees and hears everyday through A21. Unfortunately, she also has first hand experience with this wicked emotion that allows her to reason with shame so well. No matter where your shame is born, you are delivered from it by the King of the Universe. That is totally incredible and I want everyone to know!
So if your shame is subliminal or bigger than the skies, I encourage you to read “Unashamed” because you do not have to be chained by the unspeakable acts of others. You are made new!
Grab your copy of Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny by clicking on that link!
It’s book review time and I can hardly believe that we are nearly half way through the month of July. Summer can stay as long as it would like, but I am really looking forward to Autumn’s crisp weather. Regardless of today’s stifling temperatures, I’m excited to review Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. You probably know of Elizabeth Gilbert from her infamous memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which is also a major motion picture featuring Julia Roberts.
Jordan and I visited the beach last month and I read Big Magic during that trip. One of my favorite parts about prepping for a beach vacation is deciding which books I’m going to take; I call these my beach reads. I was able to soak in this book while lounging under a seaside cabana. I want us all to feel like we’re under a cabana while reading this post. So take a peek at the image below, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to that place. Ahhhhh…..
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic for the creative spirit who has buried their talents under fear and excuses. In the book you are able to get a glimpse into Elizabeth’s creative process, and you realize that it does not always come naturally. I believe that we are all creatives in some way, but you have to really be passionate about your creativity in order for this book to be meaningful to you. Naturally, Elizabeth’s experiences are from her writing career so you really have to expand on those experiences and apply them to whatever it is that brings out your creativity.
Despite many wonderful attributes, Big Magic has a few ideals that don’t align with my Christian faith. While reading, I often found myself wanting to change a proclamation to: but Jesus does, but Jesus is, or but Jesus can. Basically Elizabeth describes creativity as something that has a mind of its own, choosing when to be part of our life and when not to be. I guess my belief is that our creativity is something God instills within us; it’s a gift he gives us. I delight in knowing that my creative instincts come from my precious Jesus. Amazing!
After reading this book I feel more of a responsibility to tend to my creativity. Whether you think creativity chooses who to meet with or creativity is a God-given gift, your creativity is unique to you. Only you have the power to share your creativity! There is a lot of inspiration to fuel your creativity in this book. Elizabeth does a wonderful job of helping us apply her experience as an author to all creative expressions.
Big Magic is written incredibly well, which we should expect from Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a literary genius. I’m certainly glad that I read Big Magic, and grateful for the creative inspiration. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth’s writing than I would definitely encourage you to read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for obvious reasons. However, I don’t really know that I would recommend this book to someone whose reading it specifically for creative inspiration. The lessons I learned from this book can come from more productive resources such as blogs, webinars, and conferences. If you’ve read this book I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts! Where do you all get your creative inspiration?
So, the incredibly large group that is The June Twenty Book Club dove into a deep novel during the month of February. All The Light We Cannot See depicts the life of a young girl and boy who are experiencing WWII in two extremely different ways.
All The Light We Cannot See is written incredibly well, taking you back and forth between various years of the 1940’s. However, this is not a story that I would necessarily read again, or even recommend to someone who enjoys the same type of reading as I do. While reading, you don’t want to miss anything so you have to work extra hard to keep the focus. I simply don’t find that type of reading enjoyable. The June Twenty Book Club is going to be chatting about this book TONIGHT, right here.
We are switching gears for the month of March, and I’m so excited to be exploring Make it Happen by Lara Casey. Did I choose this book because the cover is so beautiful? Maybe. Much more than a beautiful cover, Jordan and I are eager to go after our goals and truly make it happen! I’m hopeful that this book will inspire you and I to take our next leap of faith, and use the gifts that we’ve been given.
If you are interested in joining The June Twenty Book Club this month, simply order your copy of Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose by following the link. We will host a virtual book club at the end of the month via Facebook. I am so excited to jump into this book with you!
P.S. Happy Leap Day!