Every year for the past three years, I have participated in the book challenge on Goodreads. Every year I have set my reading goal for fifty books and I have yet to meet that goal. This year I read twenty-seven books out of the fifty and I am proud of that. This is a good experience for me year after year because it reminds me that I can’t do everything even those things I really want to do. I will keep setting this goal every year.
I have read some really good books this year, here are my top five books for 2019:
- The Artist’s Way: My dear friend Elisabeth sent met this book. She is a creator and she said that it changed the way that she approached creativity and the way that she approached her art. As a content creator, I knew I needed a little boost and this was exactly what I needed. This is not just a book, but a course of study that asks you to reflect on the things and the people who are getting in the way of you creating art.
2. The Minimalist Home: This was a random grab off the staff picks table at our local library and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I started this year by taking the LifeinJeneral #31daychallenge to declutter our home in preparation for our baby. This lead to a Lenten study of what we really need through the book Seven. This year concluded with this book and it was such a good ending to this year of focusing and analyzing needs and wants. To be sure, I have a long way to go, but this year has been a huge step on trying to living purposefully and intentionally.
3. Panda Journal: Although this isn’t a book I read this year, this is a book that has changed my life this year. I was trained as a teacher and this book planner/journal appeals to all my teacher-ness. It asks you to offer gratitude for three things every morning, as well as three things that you are excited about and three priorities. Only three. This has been such a huge visual reminder of what is really important and how time gets filled each and every day. I have already started on this year’s planner and I can’t wait to see what insights another year of starting the day with gratitude and excitement will bring.
4. The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic: This book appeared on my desk one day. I found out that a co-worker had sent it for me to read via Sam. I finished it in two days with tears streaming down my face. I have a wonderful partner in life and work that helps in so many ways, but trying to explain and articulate the things that are weighing on your heart and mind each and every day is extremely difficult. This year I have felt this much more with our baby thrown in the mix. Packing lunches, making sure that everyone has something weather-appropriate to wear, doctors’ appointments on top of trying to lead and guide a congregation has certainly not been easy. As I read this book, I felt seen and heard and that I wasn’t alone in this journey.
5. The Purity Myth: I am not shy about being raised in the height of the purity movement as a girl in a conservative evangelical environment. Even though I talk and write about spiritual abuse often, I didn’t realize how much work I still needed to do in owning my own sexuality. This book revealed so much about how sexuality, purity, pregnancy, and pro-life vs. pro-choice is all a part of the same conversation. A conversation that involves silencing women and seeing women as girls who are unable to speak for themselves and decide for themselves. This has started a lot of reflection and I know will show up in my writing in the coming year.