From artistic, self-help, and spiritual to gardening.
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Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
What it’s about: We were created by an infinitely creative God to reflect his love and character to the world. One way we do that is by continuing his creative work. In this energizing book, serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Jordan Raynor helps artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and other creatives reimagine our work as service to God and others, addressing such penetrating questions as . . . . Is my work as a creative really as God-honoring as that of a pastor or missionary? How can I use my work to fulfill Jesus’s command to create disciples? Will what I make today matter in eternity?
Why I liked it: This was one of the most encouraging books I’ve read as a creative person. Raynor does an amazing job telling the stories of 40+Christian entrepreneurs and how they use their creative skills to serve others and glorify God. This book breaks down the pulpit-pew divide and helps everyone understand they can serve God with their gifting right where they are.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere. What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor – be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.
Why I liked it: The War of Art is like a simple devotional book for creative types. A quick read that will help you fight back the monsters that try to discourage you in your art and help you press on to do the work you were meant to accomplish. Just reading a page or two when you are struggling will help you move forward and not give up.
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul?
In this book, author Lysa TerKeurst shows us there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. She will help you cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of love and escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no. Lysa teaches us how to overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process and rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes.
Why I liked it: This book is filled with so much wisdom and practical advice to help us through the maze of good and better choices for the use of our time, talents and service to God and others. It will not only relieve guilt, but give you the strength to say no when you need to in order to say “yes” to the opportunities you were meant to pursue.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.
Why I liked it: Another amazing book about the choices we make and how to make better ones. If you want to do less, but do it better, prioritize what’s really important in your life and focus in these areas, this book will help you achieve your goal.
Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
Why I liked it: Because I am an introvert and live with several others, this book was incredibly valuable in understanding the strengths of this personality type. It helped me to see these differences as my unique giftedness and not as a weakness that the world sometimes tries to push on us. A must read for any introvert and also for any extroverts trying to understand, teach, work or live with them. I found this book incredibly encouraging.
Invitation to Solitude & Silence (spiritual) by Ruth Haley Barton
What it’s about: Much of our faith and practice is about words—preaching, teaching, talking with others. Yet all of these words are not enough to take us into the real presence of God where we can hear his voice. This book is an invitation to you to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. It is an invitation to solitude and silence.
Why I liked it: Barton helps us to not be afraid of the silence and stillness and gives us practical exercise to help us with the sometimes awkwardness of it all. This spiritual discipline is very much needed in our chaotic world and this book will help you see why it’s needed and how to do it.
Hearing God (spiritual) by Dallas Willard
What it’s about: Being close to God means communicating with him—telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but that can also be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear?
Why I liked it: Philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard is an amazing teacher. Reading his books is like sitting down beside a wise grandfather and receiving a wealth of information from years of living and biblical study. Although some may not appreciate the depth of his writing, I found his book to be very practical, helpful and full of truth for any seeking to hear God’s voice clearly.
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour
What it’s about: Even in winter’s coldest months you can harvest fresh, delicious produce. Drawing on insights gained from years of growing vegetables in Nova Scotia, Niki Jabbour shares her simple techniques for gardening throughout the year. Learn how to select the best varieties for each season, the art of succession planting, and how to build inexpensive structures to protect your crops from the elements. No matter where you live, you’ll soon enjoy a thriving vegetable garden year-round.
Why I liked it: This book not only has amazing pictures but is a wealth of information about growing a variety of vegetables. From when to sow, transplant, and harvest, to planting an early first crop or late fall crop. Nikki is a gardener who has proven it can be done and shows you how no matter which vegetable you want to grow in your area.
Mother & Son by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD
What it’s about: It is easy to relate to the need for all of us to feel a mother’s love, but is that the same thing as respect? Even for young boys, the effect of respect is nothing short of astounding when applied properly. Moms yearn to learn anything that better helps them with their sons. After all, they love their boys, but many find them more difficult to parent than their girls, especially from age four and up. Moms are coaching fathers to love their daughters, but no one has said boo to moms on specific ways to show respect to their sons, at least not in a way that is applicable and fully explained.
Why I liked it: I read this book with a group of women and the most common comment was – “I wish I had read this books years ago when my boys were still young.” This book is such an eye opener to how the boys and men in our life need respect, just like we women need love. The author gives so many practical examples that this book will be one you refer to often. Proven to work by moms everywhere. Even if you don’t have boys, you’ll want to read about this topic just to help you understand your man.