Closing The Books On 2016

Somehow, without my planning or permission, another year has flown by. This year, like every other, was filled with ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. It’s always bittersweet to see another year come to an end.

Before we close out the year, I thought I’d talk about books. Because…reading. Reading has always been a love of mine. I still have a few of my favorite books I read (over and over again) as a kid, and I hope Little Miss enjoys them as much as I did.

This year, I didn’t do anywhere near the amount of reading I wanted to. I started a few books and never finished them. I have several half-read books lying about, that I need to finish. And I will. Some day.

For now, though, I thought I’d share the books I did finish this year and what they meant for me.

Crucial Conversations:

This book was loaned to me by some friends, then carefully placed in my kitchen cupboard where I promptly forgot about it. I read it as soon as I rediscovered it, though, and was excited to do so – especially after seeing testimony after testimony of how it transformed relationships and encounters for so many others who had read it.

I experienced no such transformation. The book is chock-full of powerful anecdotes for engaging in meaningful, productive conversation. I learned a lot, and even employed several of its tactics. I’m still very much an emotional responder, however, and my words (and facial reactions)  betray me far faster than I’m able to crucially converse. I would absolutely recommend this book, though, and I’m sure the average reader is a more even-keel conversationalist than myself.

4 Cornerstones For Strategic Living:

This is the book my client wrote and published this year. I read it multiple times from the editing phase to final production, and am grateful to have a hard-print copy of it myself. If you’re looking for a way to organize the chaos of your past and propel into a well-thought-out future, this quick read packs a powerful punch for your problem solving needs. Absolutely recommend it, and not just because I invested my own blood, sweat, and tears into its publication.

Start With Why:

This was a tough one for me. I was “assigned” to read it by my mastermind group, and eagerly began. While the content is pure gold, the chapters were so lengthy, I found myself struggling to complete one chapter at a time. I’d get halfway through a chapter, need a three day nap, and then be able to finish it before placing my bookmark. It took me a L O N G time to get through, because it was – what I call – a strenuous read. The chapters are ultimately wordy, and my patience and retention capabilities simply didn’t allow for it to be enjoyable for me. Great info, not ideal delivery. Would I recommend it? Yes. Fantastic principles on discovering the purpose behind your passions and visa versa. But be prepared to be in for the long-haul once you crack the cover.

Essentialism:

This book was a favorite for sure. I love McKeown’s writing style and some of the points he made changed my life. Not kidding. This is a powerful read for anyone – especially those who have too much going on, tend to be people pleasers, and can’t keep a handle on their priorities. A must-must-must read. Just go get it and thank me later.

#struggles:

Short aside story: One of my life dreams was to host my own radio show. I could never do it, though, because I can’t handle the majority of people who call in to radio shows. My eyes simply can’t roll hard enough for the ill-informed, long-winded, one-sided stories they spew. Knowing this, you’ll find it entertaining to note I got this book by calling in to a radio show. Heaven help us.

I loved this book. Start to finish, it was a harsh wake-up call for how we’re living our lives today in technology and selfie-centered social media, while trying (unsuccessfully) to demonstrate and walk out our faith. It was eye-opening, and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. I hope to do this one as a giveaway at some point. Loved, loved, loved this book. Go read it, and prepare to be challenged.

Finding Hope: Rediscovering Life After Tragedy:

This was a tough one for me. It was one I needed to read, and I’m glad I read it. I’m also glad I waited to read it until I was a few years beyond Harlynn’s death. This book was full of tough love, and most of it was very hard for me to swallow. But it was necessary, and definitely imparted wisdom I had been seeking. I will caution you, however, if you decide to read this book, prepare yourself. You will be challenged, you will be stretched, and you will have to face things you may not have had the energy to face before. Prepare yourself, but go confidently from page to page.

Seeing The Voice Of God:

This was a book by the same author of the 30-Day-Faith-Detox we did in February of this year. It was about dreams, and I’ve always had an interest in learning more about how the Lord uses dreams to communicate. I still remember dreams I had as a child, and there was one very special dream I had as an adult that I’ve blogged about before. I appreciated so much of this book, and if you’re curious about the Lord speaking through dreams, what dreams mean, why we have them, etc. then Laura’s book is the place to start.

Wake Up! for Heavens Sake:

This was such a treat for me to read. The author was the worship pastor at our church in Wyoming, and I had the privilege of singing alongside him each week during the service. He was also the pastor who told us, as we were seeking answers in where to move, to just trust God was leading us on the right NEXT step, even if it wasn’t our FINAL step. Boom.

This book unpacks the principles of worship, debunks the lies we’ve come to believe as church-goers, and is a no-bull, hard-hitting explanation of what it means to have an intimate relationship with God. I was “amen!”ing along with every page, and it made me miss Montey and his wife, Sharie, all that much more. Jam-packed, yet quick read if you’re looking for something to light your fire for the Lord!

Moving Mountains:

I begged my husband to read this book because it was completely life-changing for me. When he was halfway through, he looked up and said, “I can see why you loved this book.” Blown away, I asked, “Really?” Then I followed up with, “Wait, because you love it, or because you can see why I would love it?” He didn’t love it for himself – he simply understood why his wife was crazy about it. Well.

It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a believer in the power of prayer and the critical importance of praying, do not go another day without reading this book. This is one I will read again and again, and have made it a personal goal to read it at least once a year. Powerful stuff in here. I cried, I sat with my mouth dropped open, I praised – incredible read, and incredible conviction in the power of prayer.

The Ultimate Guide To Natural Farming and Sustainable Living:

Yes. I hear that song from Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other…” in my head, too. But this is me, this is who I am, and this is the life I long to live. I bought this book as a birthday present to myself and read through it in a matter of a few days. It’s pretty much a homesteader’s handbook, and will be one I reference a multitude of times over the next several years as we pursue our homestead dreams. The author spelled things out so simply, so interestingly, and so thoughtfully – I would take a class from her in a heartbeat. If you have an interest in permaculture and planning, start with this book. You won’t regret it.

I of course am not mentioning the many cookbooks I read about Little House cooking, canning, preserving, etc. That’s another post for another day. But what a treat for me to learn the skill of canning! I have more books on deck to read for 2017. I love to read, and I love learning from reading. I can’t wait to share the next year’s book treasures with you!

What about you? What did you read and would you recommend to others?

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