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Why You Should Read More in 2017
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read anymore than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are a lot of factors in our lives that mold us. For example, our childhood, cultural environment, geographic location, religious upbringing, and different experiences. I would argue that one of those factors is the books we read. When you read a book, you will receive insight to a perspective that’s different then your own; often, even different from those around you. It exposes you to new ideas at your own pace. It’s not like the lively and fast paced environment of online information; your reception of a book is in your own head; a dialogue between you and the author. It provides inspiration, exposure to new things, can be a source of quiet and rest, and even challenge what we take for granted as truth.
All books are read through the filter of our worldview; we can’t help it. There is a balance between being open-minded to new ideas and being grounded in truth. I believe in filtering all new information through the truth of God’s word. Otherwise, you’ll be tossed around by whatever new idea comes next.
Written words are powerful and a good book has the potential to be a life changing influence. Knowing the significant impact of reading and keeping ourselves grounded in truth, let’s read more this year.
2017 Reading List
Below you will find books that I have read recently and would highly recommend for 2017. None of them are perfect, but all have impacted my day-to-day living in a positive way.
Living Well Spending Less: The 12 Secrets of the Good Life
“The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity. It is a life full of the richness that God has to offer; a life spent building treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. It is not a life of laziness and greed, but one of discipline, hard work, and self-reflection. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.”
― Ruth Soukop
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life was a fantastic read! It is written by one of my favorite bloggers, Ruth Soukop. Ruth weaves her amazing personal story with practical tips that really can make a huge difference in daily life. She confronts contentment, time management, goals, simplicity, and stewardship in a very authentic tone. Thus far, I have kept it on my desk as a reference point. She addresses spending habits in the book, a topic that I thought I had completely under control. Not so! She addresses the heart behind different spending habits, and while painfully convicting, it has been very helpful.
Present Over Perfect
“Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairytale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.”
― Shauna Niequist
I had the privilege of reading Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living in an online book club. It was moving and emotional to hear so many other women identify with Shauna. This book is incredibly raw and artistic. Shauna shares her heart and soul as she urges us to revel in the beautiful moments of life. The message to be present and not allow life to pass you by, especially in motherhood, is one that has forever changed our family.
31 Days to a Clutter Free Life
“Sometimes we just need someone else to walk us through the process of de-cluttering our lives, to break down what seems like an impossible task into manageable bites that we can tackle one day at a time. This is that book.”
― Ruth Soukop
31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule is another great book by Ruth Soukup and very practically applied. The idea is to provide day by day inspiration and instruction to practically simplify your life. Each chapter has a few pages talking about a particular area, an objective and a task for you to do. I’ve perused through the whole book, but am currently on “Day 5: Books and Magazines.” I’ve really enjoyed have one task a day that makes a difference and I can tell that I’m working towards making everything more manageable. This book is probably the easiest to apply to everyday life. She has another book called, Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul that talks more about her experiences, ideas and benefits of simplifying your life. I read that before doing the 31 Days to a clutter free life and I’m really glad I did!
Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving
“Focus on your marriage. Because that’s the nucleus of the home, whatever you do to restore its health and strength will naturally restore what’s broken among the other relationships. If you have no children yet, this will make a comfortable nest for them to begin life well. If you have children, the changes you make in your marriage will affect the rest of the household more quickly and dramatically than you think.”
― Charles R. Swindoll
Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving: Practical Advice on Making Your Marriage Strong was a gift to my husband and I in our first year of marriage. Now, almost five years later, we are reading it again and it’s awesome! Our marriage has changed over the years, but the principles from this book have not. It is refreshing and at times, challenging, to face where my heart has to be adjusted, my perspective broadened and my actions changed. In the end, it makes our marriage better and brings us closer together.
The 5 Love Languages of Children
There are a lot of great parenting books out there, but The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively is by far one of my favorite. No matter your cultural background or family traditions, the need to communicate love to our children transcends all those environmental factors. We try to communicate all five love languages to our toddler every day. It gives a mental point of reference (for all my fellow checklist lovers) to make sure I’m loving on my daughters in a variety of ways. I really enjoyed reading these books last year and they have all impacted our family to set the stage for 2017. If you have any suggestions for great books for 2017, leave it in the comments, I’d love to check it out!
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