What I’m reading

My most recent read was a book about the Enneagram (a personality-ish scale that helps reveal blind spots from a Christian perspective) called, “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Susan Stabile. At a girls night a couple months ago, my friend Heather mentioned this book and said she bet she could guess my number (vs letters in the Myers-Briggs). I held up my hand to stop her and told her I had the book reserved at the library and wanted to read it first before I got pegged. A friend at church had recommended it and I’m kind of a junkie for things that help with self-awareness and reveal an opportunity for growth.

I read this on a recent trip with my Dad who is a Myers-Briggs fan thinking I could read aloud sections and we could dissect it together, which we did. It was interesting and I found myself nodding along as it said things like, “this person tends to do this in stress” and “their motivation for doing this is ___” and “if they can try this instead, this could be helpful.” All in all, a good read if you’re into nosing around and getting to know yourself a little better, even the unpleasant parts.

I also read a little Richard Rohr, my first time reading his work, with the book, “Simplicity.” He’s a Franciscan priest and I enjoyed his direct and simple writing that resonated with me. One thing I really liked was when he talked about talking with God and reminded us that God is already in us through the Holy Spirit so really, all we need to do is quiet ourselves enough to hear Him speak. He said it’s so simple that it’s actually hard for people to understand. Last year at church we talked about the whisper of God’s voice and I have found that to be true in my own life. The times I hear most from God is when I’m quiet. Not when I’m like, “Hey God, can you tell me what to do?” (right now, please?). But when my thoughts have run out and I’m just sitting in silence. Sometimes then I can hear a little stirring. His book comes falls in line with things I’ve been interested in lately, like slowing things down to be able to hear from God.

Last month I read “Present over Perfect” which I loved by Shauna Niequist. Such short chapters packed with lessons on dialing back and determining and then focusing on what’s important. I probably liked it because it confirmed a lot of what Andy and I have been working on the past 18 months-2 years or so. Paring down responsibilities so we can see what needs attention. Stepping away from good things, good organizations, and doing the hard work of putting time and energy and lots of communication into our marriage. That’s been a big focus and I’m things are getting better.

I also read, “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. My first fiction book of the year, though it was inspired by a true story. I loved this book and parts of it were downright painful to read. I remember stopping reading to squirm a little bit. It takes place in current time and is about current events regarding racism. It is helpful in pointing out white privilege and is something I am working on understanding more. I definitely recommend this book.

Next, I read “Chasing Slow” by Erin Loechner. Sensing a theme after Present over Perfect? Yeah, I like to learn from others on things I’m currently working out in my own life. It’s easy to read, encouraging and well written. She’s an engaging story teller and I felt like I was sitting in her living room just having a real conversation about life- which is pretty much my favorite thing on the planet.

Oh, and in April, I read another Anne Lamott book, “Small Victories.” I can’t get enough of her self-deprecating, refreshing honesty about spirituality, life, and relationships. And it definitely helps that she’s hilarious. I plan to get through all of her books eventually.

That’s what I’ve been reading– how about you? Read anything lately that you really enjoyed? I’m always looking for new recommendations!


Recent Reads- From Vacation

This past winter Andy and I went on our first warm weather trip when it was cold at home. My Dad and his wife had been inviting us to Mexico with them for years and this was the year we finally went with them. From the moment we arrived to sunshine and warm air, we wondered why we had waited so long.

We swam in the ocean, ate great food, took in as much vitamin d from the sun as we could handle. We shared stories over meals together, laughed and sang along with the mariachi band. It was a restful and peaceful time. And I read during our downtime, which was most of the time.

“Jesus Feminist” was the first book I read on this trip, and I really enjoyed it. It was refreshing to read something that was so different from what I had learned in church when I was younger. I even hesitate to use the word “learned” because I don’t know that I was explicitly taught that women should be quiet and submissive and that husbands should be the spiritual head of the household. But somehow that’s what I grew up understanding.

Sarah Bessey explains a bit more about the culture going on when Paul was writing about women being quiet in church. Women hadn’t been allowed in church before so they were excited and asking questions which was interrupting the teaching. But Paul never said that women shouldn’t be in leadership, though many churches still practice that if not explicitly say it outright. In fact, he suggested the opposite, speaking highly of women that were leaders in the church.

And best of all? Jesus was a feminist (for the sake of argument I’m breaking down feminist to its most basic definition that women and men should have equal rights). He said in Christ there was no longer male or female, slave or free, jew or greek. I really enjoyed reading this- it rang so true and sounded so much better than things I had believed for so long. Sarah talked about her own marriage and how she and her husband take turns leading or calling out the next steps for their family- but only after pressing in and taking a next step based on following Jesus. I shared this with Andy and we both resonated with this. We were able to look back and point out different times where we’ve taken turns leading in our marriage.

Okay that was a long recap, another book I read on this trip  was, “When Breath Turns to Air” by Paul Kalanithi. I’ve been on a bit of a death/grieving kick this past year (go figure) but each book I’ve read has been so interesting. This is written by a neurosurgeon who discovers he has brain cancer and he starts writing this book just before he dies. It is well written and captivating.

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert was up next, for something a little lighter. I liked how she talked about having a commitment to her art (for her, writing) from when she was young. She made a promise to write every day and to not put the pressure on her art to be her source of income. And she kept that promise for a long time, until her fourth book became super popular and it didn’t make sense for her to keep her day job anymore.

The last book I started on this trip was “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Finally, a little fiction. This was my second fiction book this year- I know- I’m weird. What can I say? I love a true story! This book is about a cute old curmudgeon and the people in his life. The relationships were well developed, a good read.

Has anyone read any of these, or have anything else you’d recommend?