My Reading List

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Growing up I was a TOTAL bookworm. Like, Vanessa, put that book down your friends are here and you need to play with them – bookworm.

And I’m not even sure when it all started to change, probably somewhere around college, when my reading began to be “required” and took hours and the fun started to get squeezed out.

When I first stared coaching, one of the requirements was reading 10 minutes of a personal development book. I had almost forgotten what it was like to read regularly – I had pretty much stopped all together since having kids. I was pleasantly surprised to find it completely revolutionized my life!

I’ve been asked many times what books I’m reading and what books I recommend. I posted a book list a little while ago (you can find it here) but since then I have enjoyed a few other titles, so here’s what’s on my reading list these days.

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You should be reading Daring Greatly if you….

Struggle with your imperfections. Are always trying to please everyone in everything. If you live in fear and want to be free to love more. This book brought me to tears on more than one occasion – I love it dearly like an old friend (and Brené Brown is hilarious).

You should be reading The 10x Rule if you….

Are ready to get a swift KICK in the pants. Want to hustle your tail off in 2017. Have big plans and want to just sky rocket to the top. Aren’t afraid of a little tough love.

You should be reading Wild and Free if you….

Struggle with feeling like you are too much and not enough all at the same time. Need a breath of fresh air into your faith and relationship with God. You are looking for greater FREEDOM in your life. Want to be challenged to run harder after God.

You should be reading Harry Potter and The Cursed Child if you…..

Loved Harry Potter and want a fun little read. But don’t expect for it to be anywhere NEAR the originals – low expectations will make this a great little book for a vacation or long weekend.

You should be reading The 5 Levels of Leadership if you….

Are in any type of leadership position or want to grow in this skill. Want to learn what it means to be a leader who serves people, who builds relationship and who can produce other leaders.

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Each of these books were LIFE TRANSFORMATIVE in their own way (ok, maybe not Harry Potter) and I hope you get a chance to experience them all at some point in your life.

Stronger Than You Think

 

As I have embarked on this journey of health one of the BIGGEST impacts to my overall health has been my renewed priority of reading GOOD – life-giving books. 

Growing up in the Christian, home schooling culture that I did, I had a constant diet of “Christian Living” books. Books that were very specific on a topic like Contentment or The Holiness of God or Suffering and they were helpful…some even life-changing. However, in my circles there is a heavy emphasis on the fact that everything is in God’s control and in His hands. This belief, coupled with the belief that God is gracious and his grace covers all of our shortcomings created a mis-guided apathy for me in my life.

I know that properly understood, these doctrines (or beliefs) should NOT produce this kind of living, but in my personal life that was the effect. I knew I had weaknesses and short commings, I knew that learning more about God was good and He could do amazing things. So I just kind of kept learning about HIM and waiting for HIM to ‘change me’ and ‘transform my life’ if I just prayed and waited, it would *happen*. 

I would fail and cry out to him and feel a sense of relief, knowing that He fully forgave me and his *grace* was sufficient in my shortcomings, but personal growth seemed extremely slow (and almost non-existent in several areas). 
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It wasn’t until I started reading secular “self-help” books (which I had been raised to think were straight from the devil and full of evil heresies – how could one help himself when we are evil and depraved people – entirely dependent on a gracious God to pull us out of our sinful muck?) that I realized there was a missing piece in my beliefs on personal growth. 

Although I fully believe that I am in need of God’s grace I am beginning to learn that I am also made in His image and capable of powerful and amazing things. I am learning that there is potential within me to DO something about my weaknesses, to CHANGE, and that change is not something that will happen to a passive, hopeful couch potato. Feeling bad about my weaknesses will get me no where. I must WORK and take action steps and have a plan and chart a course for change and I CAN be a pro-active, work my butt off, get in the game powerhouse. Not defined by my weaknesses but empowered by action and growing in skill. 

In order to do this, I believe you have to be a reader, and some of those books you have to read are books that take a look at YOU. Help you evaluate who YOU are, take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, show you where YOUR actions can be powerful tools to move you forward. Give you hope for Personal Growth. I don’t think of these books as “self help” books anymore, but personal development books. 

I still read my Bible *everyday* and read gospel filled books, BUT adding personal development books has opened my eyes to the spark of the divine that is with in me and the amazing potential that I cary and the RESPONSIBILITY I have to take action and look at myself and devise plans and set up goals and GROW. 

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If I could recommend one book to you it would be The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. The truths I have discovered in this book have rocked my world and set me and my husband on a journey to re-think and approach EVERY aspect of our lives with a renewed purpose and focus and excitement. We are refining our lives being intentional in a new way and taking control of OUR actions – while still trusting in our gracious God. 

I know not many of you share my upbringing and background, but wherever you are coming from, I cannot overstate the importance of value of reading books that will challenge you and give you the tools to be the BEST version of yourself that you can be. We were designed by a gracious God to do AMAZING things and to be INCREDIBLE people. We are made in HIS image!!! Apathy, Discouragement, Hopelessness, Destructive Patterns – does that sound like the image of God? 

Don’t be afraid to take some time to dig deep into WHO YOU ARE and learn tools that you can implement to take steps (even if they are baby steps) in the direction YOU want to go (and grow). Value yourself enough to invest in yourself…you are stronger than you think. 

Feed Your Mind: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full

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As I dive deeper into healthy living, healthy eating and exercise I have been shocked and intrigued by the interconnectedness of our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. As one gets healthy, the others improve, but unhealthy patterns in one area can affect the others negatively as well. 

So, I am beginning a book review portion of my blog to give you some thoughts on ‘delicious’ books that can give your mind a healthy diet. 

I picked up Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full at The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference. There was an entire large conference area (it was too large to properly call it a room) filled with books – hundreds of books. I wanted to buy so many of them, but this title spoke to me in a way that the others didn’t. The subtitle reads: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms. 

More than 300 pages on women’s role in the church, more than 230 pages on how to be effective in one on one counseling, more than any other topic or book in that space, I knew that I needed the gospel and I needed to find a way to meditate on it in the midst of a busy and crazy life. I knew that sometimes I only had 5 minutes in a day (and even those 5 minutes would probably be interrupted or I’d find them only if I could steal away to the bathroom and lock the door) to press into Christ and meditate on His glorious gospel. 

So I bought the book and opened it up the morning after returning from the conference. 

It’s a short book and the chapters are small. There were several concepts and observations that I found helpful in my season (Chapter 5 “A Mothers Call to Worship” in which the author invites us to hear our children’s and babies cries as a call to worship God has truly helped me when my plans get ‘interrupted’ by my children’s cries.) but there were no ‘earth shattering’ revelations. It was just what I had hoped it would be: a book where this busy mom could go and every SINGLE chapter be met by the rich truths and encouragement of the gospel. 

My soul was fed and strengthened by this book and I highly recommend it to every mom who needs a small ray of gospel sunlight to shine into her day. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“The gospel stands above and beyond all the most practical, family-friendly, or cost-effective philosophies of mothering. The good news of Jesus Christ is superior to our to-do lists and metaphorical mother-of-the-year trophies. This is because the greatest problem a mother has is not a lack of creativity, accomplishment, or skill, but her inability to love God and others as Jesus loves her.”