Favorite Books

THEME:

#1 Favorite Devotional

 

…is My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It sat on my bookshelf for several years, a gift from my Grandmother that I was just not ready for. But, when I finally opened its pages, I was ready, and it cut sharp like a knife through the excess in my heart that I hadn’t even known was there before I turned its pages. Oswald weaves excellent, hearty truths in mentally and spiritually, engaging and gripping short time-framed devotions. You can chew on one of his entries for the rest of the day.

THEME: 

Learning Boundaries in Small Gulps

 

If you are boundary-less yet well-intentioned, this is the book to begin learning boundaries with. If the book Boundaries (a good book none-the-less) made very little sense to you because the concept of boundaries was so foreign (yet you understand that you need to learn boundaries), this is the place to start feeding your mind small gulps of what good boundaries look like and how they function well between you and the rest of the world. The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie is a wonderful compilation of daily writings that are easy to digest; a wonderful, practical beginning to learning and applying healthy self-care and clear-minded boundary setting.

THEME:

They Will Have Humor in Heaven

 

Anne Lamotte writes funny, anecdotal styled entries on how she comes to faith at great odds as a regular, struggling, little person in her book Traveling Mercies. Perhaps this is why it remains one of my favorite books, because I can relate to the struggle and the tiny gasps of grace God has given me along the way. This is a precious and funny read.

THEME:

Small in a Big World

 

Follow little Much Afraid on her journey with the great and loving Shepherd (Jesus) who draws her away from Craven Fear and into Jesus’ own joyful presence. See how she must travel with companions: Sorrow and Suffering, how she is transformed through the journey and given a new name. This seemingly simple allegory told by  Hannah Hurnard, in her book: Hinds Feet On High Places is rich in mirroring life as we know it as Christians actively facing fears and living by faith.

THEME:

Deeper Meaning & Experience

 

Even Mark Nepo’s prose is written like poetry in his beautiful day-book: The Book of Awakening. Open your heart breath-by-breath, day-by-day with this thoughtful collection of spiritual impressions and subsequent helpful and simple meditations. Learn to quiet yourself in the moment and train your eye to see the splendid spiritual truths displayed all around us, running beneath the surface of our everyday experience.

THEME:

Creativity is for Everyone

 

Instead of cramming creativity into the coveted boxes of the fine arts alone and for those special people lucky enough to call themselves “creatives”, Emily P. Freeman does a delightful job in her book: A Million Little Ways to give creativity back its magnificent wingspan that covers the breath of all our lives and the many small things we do from day-to-day. She breathes new interest and creativity into how we go about the simple things: crafting a conversation, preparing a meal, framing a budget, planting a garden, organizing a room, creating a table arrangement, or writing a note of encouragement.

 

This is a fantastically encouraging book that reveals the delicate beauty we can unfold in the often overlooked aspects of our lives. It takes the mundane to the delightful, as we quiet ourselves, become more mindful, and see creativity with a broader perspective.

THEME:

Daring Greatly (Even With Feelings)

 

Brene Brown’s look into the risks of not being vulnerable (closing yourself off from the rest of the world and your own self) and the benefits of allowing yourself to feel and then move through those icky, familiar feelings of vulnerability with courage, have opened my eyes and heart to a richer way of living. I am so thankful for her practical, analytical approach on something so intangible as feelings. Her research gives me new glasses to look at feelings through, and re-frames them for me as: not so scary, hard-to-handle, and actually the pathways to a life filled with more honesty and intimacy with myself, God, and others.

THEME:

Why Not be Happy?

 

Shawn Achor, in his book The Happiness Advantage, describes recent discoveries in Positive Psychology that turn upside down our normal inclinations to assume success equals happiness. He puts happiness back into the hands of everyday people, empowering all of us to make shifts in our personal thinking that can not only shape happier lives for ourselves but also for those around us. He breaks down what seems difficult into small actionable steps, giving practical principles and examples on how to retrain your brain to look for the positive and other interesting changes of perspective that can lead to creating a happier life.