On the Bookshelf, 2016

2015 is coming to a close, and if you’ve learned anything about me thus far… I like to read.  So, in case you are still contemplating your 2016 reading list… here is a sneak peak at mine.  There is a combination of books, including ones I think deserve a re-read.

I’m sure I will be adding some things to the stack as 2016 progresses, but it is a start.  HA!

For what it is worth, none of these are advertisements or sponsored suggestions.  They are not affiliate links, so I am not making any money off the recommendations. books2016

Since I am completing my Bachelors in Divinity, and I know that I will be continuing in ministry of some sort, I really wanted to take a look into the functioning of the church as a whole.

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I also got my hands on a book I’ve been wanting to read on Women’s Ministry and material that may prove to be a good resource for beginning a discipling program.

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I’m also going to be revisiting two books I’ve already read.  Mere Christianity is a text I read earlier in my walk, and I’d like to read it from new more mature eyes.  Authentic Intimacy is coming to my town in January and I want to stay acquainted with the materials as I promote it with churches, leaders, and women I encounter.25qbooks merextian

I’ve definitely been focused on my personal relationship to God, especially now in a light of transition.  I know that God has something in mind, and sometimes I get a bit afraid.  Afraid of what He is going to ask of me, afraid I am not worthy of the calling, afraid I will fail, etc.  I’m looking forward to these 3 books (and yes, 1 doesn’t come out until Feb 2016… don’t covet they neighbor’s books. )  Technically I read one of the books already, but I actually want to take my time and go through it again.

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After reading Don Whitney’s Praying the Bible, I want to explore my prayer life more.  I also have a heart for revival, and realized that in all of the past stories I have heard about revivals… they all started with a prayer group starting somewhere.  Prayer is a powerful tool in the belt of a Christian.  I long to understand how to use it to the fullest capacity.

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I am daily studying the scriptures directly, and I firmly stand on that being the primary way to study scripture.  However, I have always found blessing in other resources.  Two that I have heard great things about have made it to my list this year.  I’m not sure if I will attempt these on my own, or put together a study group (as of right now I already lead a Women of the Word study), I guess I need to pray about that.

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The other thing that is big on my agenda for 2016 is getting a better grip on my health, which I have known means reigning in my diet.  Having an autoimmune based thyroid condition means that I am constantly fighting against my own body.  It’s been a hit or miss on what works best for me, and I’ve been blessed to find an amazing doctor this year who helped me on the medication and supplement end.  Recently I was introduced to a plan by a friend, and I’ve heard good things from others with my condition.  So, I’m going to give it a try.  I bought the book & a cookbook.

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And to cap it off, I got another cookbook.  One thing most people don’t know about me is that I read cookbooks just like I would a novel.  I love them.  In fact I had so many cookbooks at one point, I had to pair down.  One of my favorite cookbooks was the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook, which is all about bread.  Great… but when the doctor tells you that you need to be gluten free… bread is a no-no.  Boooo.  Well, it turns out the authors came out with a NEW version that includes GLUTEN FREE recipes.  WOOOOOOO.   Merry Christmas to me.  If the gluten free recipes are anything like the original recipes, you’ll find me comatose in the corner … bread crumbs strewn about.

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So… what books are on your 2016 reading list?  Use the comment section to recommend something you read this year, that I MUST read.  Link to your blog with your 2015 or 2016 reading list.  Or, share which of the books I recommended jumped out at you as one you’d like to read.  Join the conversation, and let’s fill the bookshelves!  And you never know… there may be a drawing or two in the works!

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A 2015 Must Have, for an Amazing 2016!

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Every year people make New Years Resolutions, on January 1st they are going to make some sort of a big change.  Very few are actually preparing for that change in December.  If the goal is to run a marathon, they begin training in January.  If they want to change jobs, they will push through with their current job to get through the holidays.  Even if they are looking to end a relationship that isn’t moving forward, many will wait to get through the holidays (including Valentines Day) because they don’t want to be alone for those family events and big dates.

Perhaps this is part of the problem with New Years Resolutions, we are procrastinating on the preparation.  We are waiting to January 1st to arrive before we even put pen to paper.  What if we got the ball rolling a bit sooner?  What if we made the decision on December 1st that TODAY we would begin taking the steps toward an amazing future?  Sounds great, but we may not know HOW to get that ball rolling.

I’ve always believed that if you want a better outcome in your life, the first changes we have to make are the ones that result in a better self.  Be a better YOU.  My life statement has always been that I want to be better tomorrow than I was today.  A better person.  A better wife.  A better mom.  A better friend.  A better worker.  Most importantly, to me, a better Christian.  I don’t ever want to live this life thinking I have nothing more to learn, or that I have this all figured out.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions because I find that as a whole, we just can’t keep them.  But when you resolve every day to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today… it’s a momentum that builds and carries us through even the most difficult of times.  But, sometimes we are just stuck in a rut.  We know we want more, but we don’t know what MORE looks like.  We want to be better versions of ourselves, but we don’t understand what that looks like practically.

I received a copy of Holley Gerth’s book “You’re Already Amazing” from Family Christian stores, to read and review.  I had an expectation on what the book was about, but there was so much more that I didn’t expect.  I was anticipating a book that would be a cheerleader, encouraging all of us to embrace who God created us to be, the motivation to take those steps forward.  However, the book also included questions, prompts, and practical activities that would take you through the process one step at a time.

Here is the GREAT NEWS about this book, this book is not about becoming a NEW person.  It isn’t going to direct you on how to turn yourself into someone you are not, or that person you have been holding in esteem.  This book teaches you to embrace who you ALREADY ARE, as God created you to be.  You will brush off all of the expectations that you (and others) have put on you.  No more lies, no more expectations, no more pressure, no more putting yourself down.

Action steps are peppered throughout the book, as well as some other great tidbits.  However if you are looking to dig deeper, on your own or in a group, there is bonus material at the end of the book.  Perhaps, you want to dive into this book on your own.  It may be a great book for you and your best friend or accountability partner to work through together.  You could go as far as using this as a spring book study or even encourage the women in your church to work through it together under the direction of your Women’s Ministry.

However you choose to use it, I could not recommend this book more as an end cap to your 2015 reading list.  Don’t wait, dig in now, and be ready for an AMAZING 2016.

Official Family Christian Blogger