A Book A Month // January 2019

In the past I’ve fallen into the trap of setting goals that are too broad. Like I’ll do this more or I’ll do that less. They were ideas I was too scared to commit to, because I was too scared to fail them. I didn’t put specific boundaries on them so I couldn’t technically “fail”. One of these broad brush strokes was, I’m going to read more. I was constantly disappointing myself with the result even though I had no measure to test myself by.

This year I decided to get specific. With a clear road map written on paper, I’m more driven to work on meeting my goal. I found the trick to this is to keep it simple & attainable. I’ve also let myself know; I might fail. If I do, I can still measure my progress (even if it wasn’t as much as I hoped for) & I’ll know exactly where I need to do better, plus I’ll have read more books than none at all which is really a success!

2019 goal:  Read at least one book per month.

For January I decided to kick start the habit by finishing the three books on my nightstand that I had dipped into but not completed. Some of them I just restarted entirely to get the full context. So here are my book suggestions for January!

#1 Soul Keeping – John Ortberg

Soul Keeping was so refreshing! It studies caring for your soul by spending time with God, being refreshed by His Word, & how it will produce fruit in your ministry & community. There is so much depth to this book I didn’t expect and it’s all grounded on scripture. I love that it gives some practical points but this is NOT a simple self-care book. It’s goal is to help you honor God with the soul He created in you.

#2 The Meaning of Marriage – Timothy & Kathy Keller

I started this book and read bits & pieces throughout our engagement & first few months of marriage so for January I restarted & plowed all the way through. This book is packed with so much truth & application that I recommend it not only to married & engaged couples, but to singles & dating couples as well.

If you have any desire to get married reading this will help you become the person that the person you’re looking for is looking is looking for. (Go ahead, re-read it until it makes sense! I might expand on this in a future post, but I highly encourage friends not to look for the perfect person, but work on becoming the person your future spouse is looking for)

If you feel that your view of marriage has become a negative one, whether by how you were raised or the examples you saw in your life, it will help lift the fog you might see over marriage

If you’re already married; it’s NOT too late to read! This book has helped me deeper understand my connection to, communication with, & care for my husband. I’m considering setting a new goal of re-reading this book each year.

Do you ever re-read books to dig deeper or refresh your memory?

#3 Five Points Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace – John Piper

This is my home-stretch for January. I love John Piper’s poetic tone that’s as filled with truth as it is beauty. I admire & agree with his doctrine & I’m being challenged to put my beliefs into words & check them all according to scripture. I’m still reading this book so keep me accountable to finishing it this month!

What are you reading this month? Do you have a reading schedule or goal for the year? Let me know in the comments or share this post on your social media & answer in the caption! Be sure to tag me & share your book suggestions!

1.22.2019

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Kindling the Soul // Peace River // Photo Journal

“to shine on the outside you have to BURN on the inside”
– Pastor Doug Sauder

Sunday in church that sentence rang in my ears while the muscles in my arms reminded me how sore they were & my heavy eye lids reminded me how tired I was.  But every bit of soreness made me smile.

Saturday’s canoe trip may have taken a toll on my achy muscles and energy levels, but it fueled the fire in my soul.  A little laughter, exploration, and a few deep breaths of fresh air with people you love can be absolutely medicinal.  & I absolutely love the people of Koinonia.

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From fear of spending too much time on myself and missing opportunities to fuel others, I find I don’t kindle my soul enough.  But I’m learning the balance.  I was so refreshed by this exhausting trip.  Crazy, I know!  I nearly didn’t go at all due to exhaustion and injury, but it was definitely the reset button I needed.

Peace river was my kindling.  To get through the last 46 days of school.  To keep serving with a smile.  To keep burning for Christ.

I can do nothing of my own strength.  I have to remind myself of this every. single. day.  The Lord is my sole source of strength, that’s my reset button.

Thank you to my dear friends of Koinonia for reminding me of that, and for supporting me by always pointing me back to Jesus.

I am constantly surrending control back to God, stubbornly trying to take over, and surrending to Him again.  He never fails to take my pieces & need for control and give me peace.

This peace kindled my soul.

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Proverbs 3:5  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (ESV)

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (ESV)

41 people.  20 canoes.  15 miles of river.  5 hours of driving.  1 sweet memory.
3.25.2017

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the truth about writing

Lately I’ve been desperate to write.  To update this site.  To update you all on some adventurous part of my life.  But it’s been a struggle.  I long for some poetic and profound words to flow and inspire you.  Truth be told, I haven’t felt inspired.

I want to encourage you in some way.  Inspire you to be creative, bold, productive, or unique.  I want to bring you words of comfort.  But I haven’t known what to say.  Truth is, writing is not always writing.

Lately, the blank paper has begun to taunt me.  Without words to put down the white expanse stares me down, tantalizingly challenging me.  It tells me to try, but my words won’t be good enough.  It tells me to try, but I’ll be disappointed in myself.  It tells me to try, but no one will read it anyway.  
I tried switching from paper to digital hoping for a disconnect from the dreadful voice.  Digital seemed easier, faster, more productive by 21st century standards.  No longer having to run my fingers across paper’s sensitive pores, I could simply type away.  Without the emotional connection, detest at my own handwriting, or smudged ink slowing me down.   But the blank screen shouts the same threats.
Even faster than I can get the words down, I stretch my smallest and most fearful finger to the back space key, tapping it repeatedly like a fearful case of OCD locks the door 17 times for assured safety.
Just like that it’s all gone.
It was terrible anyway, so I try again.  This time it flows a little longer and I get an entire stream of thought out and breathe to re-read it.  It’s terrible.  It’s not complete.  What else could I say?  It’s too obvious.  A child could write this.  It’s not original, everyone knows this anyway.  I have better things to do with my time.  The timid tapping begins, each pixel is deleted and the door is locked for the 34th time.
I think back to the times I stared paper down before and conquered it.  How it magically turned into a tool, how I wrote the sweetest poem or blog post or letter that I’m still so proud of to this day.
But I’ll never live up to again.  
I don’t remember what inspired me.  How I got past the blank paper.  How I was content with the words.  These days I listen to and read other words so much that I’m filled up with ideas, stories, and truths.  I get inspired but find myself paraphrasing someone else’s idea and sadly realize I have nothing to add.  It’s not mine to share.  It’s cool, but it’s not me, it’s not new, and it’s not who I want to be.  So I sheepishly stretch out my pinky, tap, and the door is locked for the 51st time.
Truth is, writing is painful.  It’s pouring yourself out and exposing parts of yourself you may not want to.  It’s not all the artistic sweet posts, best selling books, or top charting song lyrics.  It’s exercise, stretching you constantly and making you sore.  It often takes turning off all the other voices and distractions, asking yourself a hard question, and following through with the answer.
Inspiration doesn’t always fall in your lap, you have to work for it.
If you want to be a writer, that’s the truth.  Anything fruitful is going to come after planting, watering, and struggling.  I want to be a writer.  So I’ll keep staring, battling, watering, growing, typing, erasing, re-typing, and struggling, until I get to the writing.  I’ll tame that timid finger, and leave the door unlocked.
2.21.2017