I set a relatively ambitious goal for myself at the beginning of the year, to read 24 books in 2017. Approximately 2 a month. I realize that isn’t a significantly large amount of books. However, the list of books this year weren’t necessarily leisurely reads, in fact many are in-depth resources for business, parenting, ministry, etc. Meaning two things: 1) I read with a highlighter and pen in hand at all times and 2) all of the books so far have required more time than I originally anticipated. I have only added to the problem by constantly adding additional books to the list. I’m not really one for waiting in general, especially if the book is “going to change my life!” Insert eye roll. (See #1 on this list about my general thoughts on waiting.)
Pictured: My printed 2017 Book List & The Powersheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop, A Goal Setting Resource
I thought it would be fun for the remainder of the year to give a quick update each month on the books I’ve finished and books I’m currently reading. My hope is to simply pass along information about what has been helpful to me so far and give a few reasons why.
- Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, Gloria Furman
- This book is an incredibly simple, quick and honest reminder of Biblical truths for mamas. It offers a perspective and heart reset on motherhood that I plan on reading annually.
- Favorite Quote: “The gospel stands above and beyond all the most practical, family-friendly, or cost-effective philosophies of mother. 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 love her.”
- Do More Better, Tim Challies
- A very quick read (in an afternoon) with very practical tips for efficiency and making the most of your time. I thought this was a very helpful read and have implemented several of his suggested strategies over the last month.
- Favorite Quote: “Busyness may make you feel good about yourself and give the illusion of getting things done, but it probably just means that you are directing too little attention in too many directions, that you are prioritizing all the wrong things, and that your productivity is suffering.”
- The Road Back To You, Chron & Stabile
- This book is eye-opening to say the least. An incredibly helpful tool; helping you understand yourself and others better. This is a simple read and has been fun to read with others, lending itself to easy and natural discussion.
- Favorite Quote: To borrow a quote from the British mathematician George Box, ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful.’ That’s how I see the Enneagram (a personality typing tool, the subject of the book.) It is not infallible or inerrant. It is no the be-all and end-all of Christian spirituality. At best, it is an imprecise model of personality… but it is very useful.“
- Cultivate, Lara Casey
- This book has been one of the most encouraging and helpful books I have ever read. Lara writes with powerful truth, honesty, transparency and very practical application that brought a ton of freedom to my heart. A very helpful book for a perfectionist like myself, reminding me that the mess isn’t the enemy, that good things grow through dirt and that progress is better than perfection.
- Favorite Quote: “When we let God’s grace lead us, instead of perfection, good things get cultivated, right where we are. Imperfect starts and awkward middles can grow into strong marriages, joyful families, deeper faith and purpose-filled days.”
- Word-Filled Women’s Ministry, Gloria Furman
- A helpful reminder that the Bible should always be the foundation for any ministry or program within the church. Written by various women’s ministry leaders around the world and in varying contexts working with lots of different demographics, but one unified message, the Bible must be central. This is a great read for any woman in any type of leadership position.
- Favorite Quote: “Word-filled women minister to one another in all our contexts because we are walking by the Spirit, who breathed out that Word in the first place. We take with us the message we have been given, which is God’s Word-cherished, believed, obeyed, and meditated on day and night. The message of hope for the nations, the strength for ministry, and the comfort in our troubles along the way belong to all of us in the body of Christ.”
- Twenty Two, Allison Trowbridge
- I devoured this book. “Twenty-Two Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaning”. This would be the perfect gift for any woman entering college this year or even her senior year of high school. Let’s be honest though, I am more than a decade removed from that season of life and I still found this book remarkably identifiable. To me, it felt like a sweet, poetic, story-telling, modern day representation of Titus 2, a woman just a bit older and a bit wiser giving insight to a woman a bit younger.
- Favorite Quote: “Life is too short not to do the things I know I’m here to do. I’m learning that being faithful to my calling means saying yes to what is missional, and no to just about everything else.” and “I’d been trying to be a super hero instead of a servant.”
- What’s Best Next, Matt Perman
- A very insightful resource on the theology of productivity as well as practical application of that theology. This is almost a super expanded version of “Do More Better” with helpful reminders that productivity is about more than conquering a to-do list and more about the bigger picture such as being efficient with tasks in order to be available to love others well.
- Favorite Quote: “It doesn’t matter how efficient you are if you doing the wrong things in the first place.”
- The Plant Paradox, Steven Gundry
- A very interesting read on the health problems the majority of Americans are currently facing. Very interesting. Out of all the “health” books I’ve read over the years, this one offers the most research and evidence and obvious expertise. The book is super challenging as it questions most of what I thought was healthy over the past few years but it is very helpful in it’s simple and practical solutions.
- Favorite Quote: “Supposed that in the next few pages I told you that everything you thought you knew about your diet, your health, and your weight is wrong.” And that’s what he does.
- Through The Gates Of Splendor, Elizabeth Elliott (*not pictured)
- This book was the sweetest gift to me this summer. I went on a walk nearly every morning before my kids were awake and used audible to listen instead of read. The book is essentially a collection of journal entries from 5 different missionary men who were killed while trying to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Elisabeth was the wife of Jim Elliot, of one of the missionaries killed. The book served as a gentle daily reminder to get my eyes off of myself and to ask God to give me a heart for others like those men and women had for the Auca Indians.
What are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations that will “change my life” and need to be added to my 2017 book list right away?