Before I started blogging, I rarely read non-fiction books, but now that seems to be what I read most. I have found such inspiration in self-help, memoir and informational books, so I'm turning to these types books this year to help me focus on my year of contentment.
Some of the books on this list I have read before. Some were books from last year's reading list that I never finished reading. And several are books I heard about in 2016 that I believe will be great reads for the year.
I am blessed to be one of the women on the launch team for this book, which filled up in a matter of minutes of the application going live! I'm not finished with Nothing to Prove yet, but it is already so, so good! Sometime in my life, I hope I am able to meet Jennie Allen and give her a hug (and I'm not a hugger, people!) because she writes EXACTLY what I feel and think. It's amazing! I'll do a full review of the book in a few weeks, but let me share this quote with you for now,
"...I want to be enough for God, for you. And that's my sin. Deep down, I want to be enough. I don't want to keep needing God.
I am realizing that it's not my curse that I believe that I am not enough; it's my sin that I keep trying to be."
You can pre-order Jennie's book here.
Can we all admit that we are broken and wounded and weary? In Made Well, Jenny Simmons sets out to show us how we can find healing in our everyday, mundane lives. I've not yet read this book, but I know that I need the healing that she talks about. As an introvert that prefers to not get vulnerable, lest things should get tense or awkward, I hold on to my hurts and angers. I want Jesus to make me well!
Order Made Well here.
Before I had kids and had gotten my dream job of teaching, I was a bank teller. I'm going to be completely truthful that at the time, I thought being a bank teller was beneath me and my college personal finance degree. BUT God used that season to really humble me and bring me closer to Him.
During my lunch breaks, I would go home and watch Joyce Meyer and eat my leftovers. I can't tell you how much I relied on Joyce's show during that time in my life. I don't know if I would have had the faith to believe I would one day teach personal finance to high-schoolers if it hadn't been for watching her show every day. This book is one that I bought during that season and just never got around to reading.
We all use language that isn't accurate and could potentially mess with our heads. For instance, my husband and I have started to say "that's not in our budget" instead of saying "we can't afford that." We do this because if we weren't saving for retirement and making tithing a priority, a lot of those things we "can't afford" probably wouldn't be issues. We've changed out language to reflect our priorities and truth. My hope for this book is that I will learn to change other areas of my language in order to make me reflect on how truly blessed I really am.
Order Change Your Words, Change Your Life on Amazon here.
This was on last year's reading list and I didn't get to it. Shauna Niequist is one of my favorite guests on podcasts I listen to, but sadly I've never read any of her books! That will change this year as two of my picks are her books. The subtitle is what got me on this book, "Celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life." That's what I believe contentment is. It's finding the awesomeness in doing the dishes, giving baths, and collecting eggs; being incredibly joyful doing everyday life. I realize there will be days that this will be a stretch (Heck, today was one of those days...nobody napped!), but overall, I know we have more good days than bad. I just need the reminder!
You can find all of Shauna's books here!
I heard about this book from The Simple Sophisticate Podcast. The Joy Diet gives you 10 daily practices for a happier life. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of a happier life and only when you have successfully added one, are you supposed to move on. I'll be honest that this sounds a little daunting. How can I add more to my to-do list? Here are a few things that Beck believes you need in your daily life: nothingness, truth, laughter, connection. When you see those things, the 10 practices seem a bit more doable.
Get the Joy Diet here.
This was one of the most talked about books last year on many of the podcasts I listen to. I think the title speaks for itself as to why it made the cut for my contentment reading list. Here is a quote from Shauna on the inside cover, "A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed, almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy."
When I'm feeling "bored," its actually discontent seeping to the surface. And what do I do when I'm bored? I get busy shopping or doing something! Being busy keeps us from feeling our emotions and getting to the deep issues in our hearts. I can't wait to read this book and gain insight on how to deal with the hard heart issues I know I've got going on!
Check out Present Over Perfect here.
This is another book from last year that I neglected getting to, and again its one that speaks for itself as to why I've chosen it for the reading list. The subtitle, "Finding contentment in a culture of comparison," is basically my anthem for the year. I can't wait to see what tips and advice Wyma has to offer in this book. Not to mention, I am really holding out hope that this is a funny book. I mean, look at the cover!
You can find out more about I'm Happy for You here.
I read this Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall last year and it was so, so good! Kuykendall set out on a nine month journey of tweaking little things in her day in order to love her actual life. Each month she focused on one area. Some of the areas include: quieting the noise around her, simplifying her morning routine, planning meals, and making time for creativity. Kuykendall was very real and transparent with her readers. At the end of each chapter she shared what changes worked and what didn't. I have considered doing my own nine month experiment after my three month Contentment Challenge.
Read my full review of the book here.
Buy your own copy of Loving My Actual Life here.
I heard about this book from a few women I follow on Instagram and from Hayley Morgan's interview on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. Ever since I've wanted to read it, so I convinced my book club to read it with me this month.
I added this book to the reading list because, although it may not directly help increase my contentment, I already see discontent in my daughter. She has a really bad case of "the gimmes". Just today while we were out getting groceries she talked about wanting to buy a new toy! We just had five Christmases!!! It is my desire to get a handle on this in her early because I know what it is to live with discontent.
Ever since I was little I have looked to the next thing or next accomplishment to make me happy, only to find that the happiness fades and then I'm searching again for my "fix." If this book can help me help her, then it is absolutely worth it! Plus, happier kids will lead to a happier momma!
Find out more about Simplicity Parenting here.
I had to add this book because Richard Foster is the person that I quote constantly saying, "The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle." In my post earlier this week I talked about how I worked and worked last year to live simply when in reality, all I did was create chaos and exhaustion instead. I focused on the wrong things; the outward things. Simplicity and contentment will have to start on the inside, deep in my soul, before my outward life will finally reflect the true simplicity my heart has been craving.
Get your copy of Richard Foster's book here.
This book had me at the bright pink cover. Emily Ley is the creator of the Simple Planner and has now published this book, Grace Not Perfection, with rave reviews.
"Learn to embrace an intentionally slower rhythm of life through inspirational writings, detailed tips, creative ideas, and beautiful imagery...Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard, and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart."
This book is full of beautiful color photos and spaces to write and work out the details for implementing Ley's tips into your own life. I love when books ask you questions and give you space to work out the answers. I find that I'm much more likely to really try to practice what I'm reading when they do this. I'm excited to get into this book!
Buy your own copy of Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley here.
Shauna Niequist said, "Erin’s writing is beautiful, and this book is soulful and practical, honest and inspiring. For all of us who are tempted to perform and filter and prove---which is, I think, all of us---this is a necessary conversation about a deeper, better way of living." A deeper, better way of living.....Yes, please! While the thought of deeper living scares me a bit, because to get a deep connection there are going to be things that may cause short-term tension which I hate, I also yearn for this more than surface relationships. I want to know you and be known. As scary as it is, I crave it. Comparing, trying to prove ourselves and our worth, and performing all get in the way of that.
I can't wait until my pre-ordered copy arrives!
You can pre-order Erin's book here.
Listen to Erin on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey here.
I follow a blog where the author talks about a "Sabbath meal" she and her family have on Friday nights. It looks and sounds so amazing and I would love to implement something like that into our lives. Well, this book may help me.
In Rhythms of Rest, Miller talks about how we can add Sabbath rest into our lives AND be intentional about it. I'll be honest and say that even as a stay-at-home mom, I make time to rest, BUT I'm definitely not intentional about it. Usually my rest is me zoning out in front of Netflix after the kids go to bed. While at the time, I have energy for little else, it doesn't give rest to my soul. Living from a place of soul rest has to be one of the most content places to be...I imagine at least.
Add Rhythms of Rest to your reading list here.
Denmark is recognized as the happiest country in the world. I'm not sure how that's decided upon, but this is what I've read. When author, Helen Russell heard this statistic, she wondered what made Danes happier than the rest of us, so she set about to find the answer. Well, I'm curious too! I've heard of Hygge (pronounced hue-gah), the Danish way of making ordinary moments more meaningful and special and I'm hoping that this book will dive into that a bit. After reading reviews, I am expecting this to be a funny and witty read as well.
Learn the secrets of Living Danishly by getting your own copy here.
I am delighted about sharing this ebook with you! Why? I know the author! Yep, Ali and I have even collaborated on a project before so this is me "name-dropping." LOL! But seriously, Ali is an amazing woman of God. I love to read her blog and follow her on Instagram. She shares such wisdom!
The aspects that made me want to read this book most were the title and subtitle. Who hasn't scrolled through their Instagram feed at some point and ended up feeling worthless or envious? After a few scrolls I feel like all the people have all the things and are doing all the things except for me. However, each person is only doing one or two things and we don't notice when a "friend" doesn't post for a week or two because they just spent time working on the big project they revealed today.
I am looking forward to more of the wisdom I've grown accustomed to receiving from Ali while I read this book.
Get your own ebook for only 99 cents here!
You all know I'm a Dave Ramsey fan, so it's probably no surprise to you that his daughter's new book made the list. Dave's whole philosophy is that good money habits is more about behavior and attitude than about the actual numbers. I am excited to see what Rachel can do on her own since this is her first book written solo. While I'm sure that some of the content will be familiar, I look forward to hearing Rachel's take on how to NOT keep up with the Joneses.
Get your copy here.
This book is extremely new to me. Honestly, it was while researching other books for this reading list that Amazon suggested I check it out. I'm not going to lie, I have a hard time grasping the "It is for freedom that I set you free" concept. This may the be point where you roll your eyes and think I'm an idiot, but seriously. I read that passage in Wild and Free last year and I've read it in the Bible, but it has never sunk in to the point of me being in absolute awe. And that sort of worries me.
I decided to add this book simply because I think that fully comprehending and feeling the freedom Christ bought and paid for deep in my bones could have the potential to make the most miraculous transformation in my life this year. Here's to hoping!
You can pre-order your book here.
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