Help Yourself to Some Book Suggestions

I know that I will always have something I can improve about myself.

I spend a lot of time trying to improve and work toward who I want to be. In doing my Reading Challenge for the year, I have read even more books than normally that have aided me in changing my attitude, marriage, lifestyle, habits, and even accepting who I am so I don’t have to manically run after improvements.

As I was looking back over the books I have read this year I was realizing that I have kept a lot of these books close to the chest because I learned some very personal things and I am not quite ready to share everything I have learned and am trying to implement in my life. I am not ready to shed all my layers and be completely naked before you all on the internet, even though I try hard to be very vulnerable on this blog.

If I do not believe in the help offered by a book, I won’t finish it. In the self-help category I start out pretty skeptical. Yet, this year I have already read 15 books that I would put in this category, and I loved the majority of them. Finding those 15, however, took starting and qutting quite a few others. Because of this I figured it might be helpful to some of you out there who are tired of trying to weed through books with your own busy schedules if I could share what made these books stand out amidst the others of their type.

Additionally, I want to provide a starting point for you if you are looking for something in your own life. Self-help is very specific, and the idea of having a book be the answer is pretty ridiculous, but when we are living an open and honest life with ourselves we can usually find a book that can be of great help in walking us through and processing with us a specific area of life that we need in a certain season.

This Momentary Marriage

To begin with this review I will take you back to 2015. Last year I read a marriage book of his that absolutely changed my marriage. I have never finished a marriage book prior to This Momentary Marriage.

As a young person getting married, I definitely feel like my marriage is different than anyone else’s I observed growing up. We tell each other everything, and we are honest with each other. We don’t need these books that talk about such normal issues. We will never argue about those things, or if we do we will argue and solve it. Those things that wreck other people’s marriages are just because they are missing the love we have.

Well, this book didn’t even try to tell me what a normal marriage book would talk about. In the very beginning of this book, John Piper shares a letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his fiancée while he was in prison in Germany for attempting to assassinate Hitler. The beginning of this book was very clear: Jesus Christ is the most important thing. End of story. This will wreck your life if you let it. I cannot say enough good things about this book and the way it made me see my marriage with God’s eyes instead of my own.

This book was nothing like the other marriage books out there.

It doesn’t approach marriage at all like other people and books. Not only did it help me take off all those blinders and rose colored glasses and blindfolds I had put on to keep from seeing my marriage as normal, it raised my expectations and standards for myself way higher. This is a must read for anyone in the world who has a heart that might love ever. CLICK HERE to read my full review of This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.

A Time to Grieve

When this year began I was depressed and just couldn’t climb out of it. I was so sad all the time, and just felt lost. I knew that I wasn’t grieving in a healthy way, and I knew that I needed to let myself grieve and be sad for things I had never grieved. So, I took the time to walk through a book called A Time to Grieve. The book worked well for me in two ways. First, I was able to grieve with the questions and process. I took extra time to journal as much as I could about the questions presented and really take time to be sad.

The book is written for people who want to help others grieve, so I was also able to take a step back and think about others. How I could take my own pain and grieving and become more empathetic. For me this was a huge deal because I do not have a great deal of empathy stored up in myself.

Not Your Regular Stages of Grief / Step Program

I would recommend this book for anyone seeking to comfort others, to learn more about the grieving process in a way that is not formulaic. The book is written in more of a relational way than a step by step definition of the grief process, which I really enjoyed.

Desiring God –> When I Don’t Desire God –> When the Darkness Will Not Lift

Because I loved the John Piper book so much last year, I decided to read another one this year. Piper is known for his book Desiring God which is what his website domain is as well. I meant to read that one, I really did, but at the beginning of this year I just wasn’t desiring God. I was mad and depressed and in culture shock and grief stricken.

As I was looking at Desiring God, I found a follow up he had written called When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. That sounded a lot more like where I was at. But then I found a third follow up. John Piper took the last chapter in When I Don’t Desire God, and made it into a book, When the Darkness Will Not Lift. That was perfect.

This book was amazing at letting me be depressed. I really was able to just sit before God and grieve and be sad for days and months. When the healing came it was not fast and it was not pleasant, but I was able to sit in the promises of God that He will not put me to shame, and that He is my refuge. In the middle of the darkness, He is my refuge. In the middle of depression, He is my comfort. Even when I don’t feel comforted, He is my Tower.

If you or someone you know is in the darkness, this book is powerful and excellent. If you are just struggling to find joy, I would recommend any of these three books. Even without having read the first two, I know they are excellent books.

More Self-Help Book Reviews on their way!

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Goals to Build a Thriving Life in 2016

This is going to be a short post that will begin my weekly goal posts. I am going to post Mondays, and the goals will not include the weekends so that I have more slack to review my goals from the previous week. I just completed the course Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine, one of my favorite bloggers. Much of the method to my goal setting comes from this course. I cannot place a measurement on Thriving, but by choosing the following measurable goals, I believe, day by day we will begin to thrive.

If you want to see my past posts on Goal Setting CLICK HERE.

My BIG GOALS for 2016

Self, Heart, & Soul:

    Read the Entire Bible Through (New Testament 5 Times)

List 1: New Testament – 4 Chapters Every Night Before Bed

    Once Complete Repeat all but Revelation

Old Testament Read 1 Chapter of Each List per Night

List 2: Prophets

        List 3: History

List 4: Law

List 5: Poetry

    Take Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge

My Goal is to Attempt Avid Reader this year, which is to read a book approximately every 2 weeks from the challenge list. This is audacious, but I think will help my soul and heart to attain the rhythm God and Louis are both impressing on my heart in this season of life.

Marriage Goals:

After finding the reading challenge mentioned above, Louis and I both have set reading goals, which will come from that challenge instead of add to that list.

    Louis: Read 6 Seminary Books

Finish Third Culture Kids

Finish Serving as Senders & Create our Blog Study for Partners in the States

Read 1 Book Together

Spend Intentional Time Together Just for Us 3x per Week.

Family (Mothering, Parenting) Goals:

Many of the goals for this year are not truly Big Goals for the year, but just building routines. At the end of the year I want to be able to look back and see several things accomplished however.

David Potty Trained

School Decision Made for Davy

Routines in Place:

    Grocery Shopping without Louis

    Teeth Brushing (Davy Learn and Do it Routinely)

    Bath Time (Water Heater Routines and Bathing)

Pause for PRAISE here for our evening routine at bedtime working so well and continuing to include Bible Reading to the kids!

David getting dressed and undressed by himself

Arabic Study Plan: Study 1 hour per day. 20-30 min. per day for Davy.

Ministry & Discipleship Goals

The Arabic Study Plan of course is part of our ministry here, and once that plan is in place it will cover many of these categories.

Mommy Book Blog: Post Weekly Goals once a week for accountability and twice a month posts on books and parenting and life in Lebanon.

Lisses to Lebanon Blog: Post twice a month. Hopefully one from each of us each month about missionary life and ministry.

In the past I made many mini goals, but these BIG GOALS will be broken into bite size (weekly) pieces and posted each Monday in Weekly Goals. Feel free to post your own goals so we can all keep each other accountable.

My Goals For This Week

This Week’s Goals:

Family

  1. Organize Kids’ Clothes:
    1. Take Out Clothes That Are Too Small
    2. Pack Up & Label Clothes That Are Too Small
  2. Pack Up & Label Pregnancy Clothes
  3. Write Love Notes to Louis & Kyrie
  4. Exchanges and Returns on baby clothes she has already outgrown

Education

  1. Create an Arabic Study System
  2. Add the Motor Themes to the Homeschooling Curriculum
  3. Begin Reading TCK

Ministry

  1. Continue Bible Reading Plan
  2. Write Lisses to Lebanon Blog Update
    1. Funding Update
    2. Timeline Update
  3. Start Reading Serving as Senders
  4. Organize the Space to Write Thank You Cards

Personal

  1. Celebrate the first 2 Weeks of my Made Over Morning Routine: Use my Coldstone Gift Card
  2. Begin Studying the Bible again by reading 1 chapter this week of 1 Samuel
  3. Choose a Book For Fun & Start Reading

I realize I might be jumping in to far too much, but what I have been learning these past few weeks as I have begun my Morning Routine again is how useful scheduling out my days can be. Thank you, again Crystal @Money Saving Mom. So, I have begun using Google Calendar in a way that I might share as soon as I figure out how to explain it. The main point is to put it down on paper and leave it there. So, before I send these goals out now I have them written down on my calendar in a reasonable way. More on that later, but for now…

Accountability through Blog, we have Re-Begun!

As always, feel free to join the accountability of goal setting by writing your own goals in the comments.

Tucson Festival Of Books: March 9th & 10th

It is fantastic to live in Tucson. I love everything about living here! The weather, the people, 4th Avenue, my family: all amazing. We have a Gem and Mineral Show that is huge. Wandering through it,  I was ecstatic! Surrounding me on all sides was one of my biggest passions, rocks and minerals!

Now there is the Tucson Festival Of Books! If I had known about this I would have moved here long ago. However, it wasn’t until college that I discovered this amazing event. Even then I haven’t attended, probably out of some jealousy that others had gotten to grow up with this wonder and I was so far behind. However, now that I live here I just have to take part in the excitement.

I have a husband who cares greatly about movies. He has a list of 1265 favorite movies. I have been impressed by this as I have watched it grow through our five years of marriage. One of my favorite things he has is a collection of lists he uses to find movie recommendations. It occurred to me as I began avidly reading, eating up all the authors on the list for the Tucson Festival of Books, that I could make such a list. I have a passion to share my heart with others, and books often show me a reflection of myself. They teach me something about humanity that is worth sharing with the wider community out there. So, I decided to create a blog sharing about books I have read and giving recommendations about who would enjoy reading said books.

Welcome to my Mommy Book Blog!