Feb 3, 2016

Read This: Books to Re-focus You

Savor | Cold Tangerines | Simply Tuesday | Taming the To-Do List | No Other Gods
As I've gotten older, and people have become a bit more negative toward each other, I've realized I need to make sure I'm counter-balancing the negativity somehow. Great family and friends are key! I don't know how many times I've called a girlfriend at the last minute, practically begging her to meet for tacos and margaritas, so I could shake off the funk of the day. My girls come through every time; then again, who can say no to tacos?

If I'm just in a personal funk, and don't feel like talking it out or we've already talked it out and I've backslid into the funk a bit, I try to take care of it myself. This is where books come in handy. It wasn't till maybe July or August of last year that I found myself consuming positivity generating books, and now I don't know how I've lived without them. Twenty-nine hit me hard; all of a sudden I felt like I didn't have my act together, was spinning in circles, asking myself what I had accomplished since I switched my tassle over at college graduation (oh wait, I didn't walk at graduation, so there was no tassle switching—maybe that was my problem). I really beat myself up. I did that for about a solid month or so, which wasn't fun and kind of depressing. I've actually accomplished a lot since college, but instead of focusing on my achievements, I kept looking at the things I had yet to check off some stupid list I had built in my head.
Books and margaritas saw me through!
I did a lot of reading, and soul-searching and I've hit my groove again. I feel good, I know I have purpose and drive, and I know I'm working toward some big achievements in 2016. Much like we're supposed to make resolutions and then create smaller goals to get us to the big goals, I now realize that 2014 and 2015 were the smaller goal, building blocks, to prepare me for 2016.

Books and margaritas saw me through! If you're not sure quite where to start; here's a great get started list.

Savor | Sometimes I need a quick pick-me-up that I can consume in fifteen minutes or less. Whether it's right when I wake up, to kick off the day or right before bed to re-focus, I reach for Savor. It's a 365 day devotional, but Shauna has made it so much more than that. It's like girl talk; quick little life anecdotes, no beating the Bible into your brain—it's more about re-focusing and paying attention to the little moments in life instead of the big, overwhelming drama that can consume us. Buy Here

Cold Tangerines |  If you can't tell, I love Shauna Niequist. This book is another one of my absolute favorites. Each chapter is a short story, and again, very easy to consume in a short amount of time. She hits on all aspects of life for us girls. And her stories are encouraging and uplifting. I actually have one chapter marked, The Red Tree, because it's all about paying attention to the important things. Whenever I need a reminder to pay attention to more than my to-do list, I read that chapter. Buy Here

Simply Tuesday | I'll tell you what, this book sets you straight. What's important about Tuesday? Nothing It's a normal day of the week, nothing extravagant or crazy happens on Tuesdays. Yet, that's exactly why we should pay attention to Tuesday. If we're too focused on the bigger and better, we never live in the moment. If you're feeling overwhelmed by comparison, perfection, to-dos and should dos, make yourself a pot of coffee, and sit down with this book for a bit. Buy Here

Taming the To-Do List | I never realized that having a smart phone in which anyone and everyone could reach me, and make requests of my time—whenever they wanted—was the shift in feeling overwhelmed all the time. Then, I thought about it, and I haven't always lived life with a cell phone and everyone else in the world, stuffed into my purse. Instead of setting my time and tasks, everyone who sends me an email prioritizes themselves over anything I had planned for the day.  Buy Here

No Other Gods | So, there are two ways you can read this book. The first way is there is an actual book that you can read alone or Kelly has also created a Bible study that you can do in a small group of women. I just started the Bible study with my bestie since first grade; we meet twice a month and do one section at each meet-up. Each section is broken into five days, so we read and answer the questions for the five days, and then we discuss what we read, what we liked, what stopped us in our tracks, we order coffee or wine, then we get sidetracked and talk about everything else under the sun. I mean, it doesn't get much better than that! This one is more Bible focused, which isn't a bad thing. I love that it pushes me to read scripture in a new light, and apply it to my life—sometimes I struggle putting the Bible into current life application. The Bible study has already shown me that the smallest things, even good things, can become functional gods in my life. Anxiety being one. Is anxiety a natural feeling for me? Yes. Should it consume my thoughts? Drive me crazy? Overwhelm me and take over my day? No. I had never looked at anxiety as an idol or functional god in my life, but now I can totally see it. Buy Here

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