I have started and scrapped at least two other year-end reflections. I get a third of the way through and decide that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. So, not wanting to waste anyone’s time I’m going to do it a tad differently this year.
I’m always seeking out new material to help keep me on true north. It’s always been the case but for years (decades even) I never knew where to look or what to look for. For the past five years or so I have been gobbling up books and bible studies to help keep me focused.
Here is a reflection of books and bible studies I’ve read (or finished) in 2017 that I highly recommend. There are more but not all are worth mentioning. Links to these books are provided within.
- Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud. I started this book a year or more ago and finally finished it. If you want a sneak peek into it’s material, I HIGHLY suggest listening to a podcast that Jen Hatmaker had with them at the end of the year. It’s worth taking notes during.
- Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen. It is no small coincidence that I had this book with me as I traveled to Sedona to lay my aunt to rest. She was a true artist and knew her call. SHE had nothing to prove either. This book, in my opinion, is that gentle push some of us need to follow our calling (very similar to Big Magic by Liz Gilbert, but less focused on creative living specifically) in a very Christian way.
- Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. There are not enough words for me to suggest this bible study. It is THE BEST. Her direction in prayer writing is still a struggle for me but the call to armor up did not fall on deaf ears. I will be doing this study again this year, it was that good. If you haven’t seen the movie War Room, staring Shirer as well, I would suggest that also.
- Finding Water and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I did these out of order and I do suggest The Artist’s Way go first. Each book is a 12-week course, focusing on daily living as an artist, things we should be doing to tap into our inner child. Julia is a recovering alcoholic and a Christian. While her books do not read religious specifically, she does speak of the same God I do and His affect and direction in our lives creatively – I’m certain Liz Gilbert drew much of her inspiration for Big Magic from Cameron.
- Life without Ed by Jenni Shaefer. I did a whole blog post about my fitness addiction, which you can read about here. I had no idea I had one but when I read this book the tears would not stop. I read this entire book in two days and walked away changed forever. I wrote more about this book on my “Life Changing Books” page because it was, no doubt, life changing. If you’ve EVER suffered from body image issues I highly suggest this book.
Here are the items currently on my bookshelf that I’ve been reading. Some of these books are so heady that I can only digest a little at a time, thus, they’ve been on the shelf for months or even a year.
- Anno Domini: The Middle Ages and Reformation (published by IF:Gathering)
- Catholics and Protestants: What we can learn from each other by Peter Kreeft
- Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead by Brene Brown
- Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
- Prayer: Finding Intimacy with God by Dr. Tim Gray
- The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer
- Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my favorite happenings of 2017.
- Sedona with my cousins (under the absolute worst circumstances but the most reverent homegoing ceremony I’ve ever been part of. You can read about it here.)
- Getting this guy
- Shrimp and Grits from the Charleston Crab House
- Canoeing in Congaree National Park (with no guide and snakes everywhere)
- Elk at sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park (except I forgot my good camera for the trip!)
- Selling my work at my first arts and crafts show (you can also read about my arting experience here)
2017 was a great year. Life at middle age has settled into a new “normal” for me. Some parts I adore, others need some tweaking. God has blessed me abundantly with the people he’s placed in my path… I pray for my warriors and supporters daily.