I have a confession to make: I have an obsession – I am completely obsessed with books. I have totes upon totes of books in our basement that haven’t found a permanent home in our new house yet. I also have thousands of dollars worth of books on wish lists on Amazon. Yes, I said lists, because I have them all on separate lists depending what they are; for fun, art books, self development, kids books, poetry, classic books, history books, and even a list of books for my husband. I even have books that I have collected simply because they look cool or have interesting random topics. The town I went to college in had a used book store that I could have spent way more time (and money) in. I mean, I was the kid in high school that got her book taken away from her because I was reading in class too much. I was also the kid whose mom said she would rather buy her clothes than books because I wanted too many books and clothes were cheaper. I tried the argument that my mom should be encouraging me to read – she told me I didn’t need encouragement to read.
I have found though that with becoming a stay at home mom, running my photography business, and starting this blog, I really don’t read as much as I used to. This year I plan on reading so much more! For self development AND for fun.
Starting my list are books for self development because it is incredibly important to never give up on making yourself the best you can be.
Self Development Books
1. “The Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband” by Jennifer Smith
I absolutely love following the Unveiled Wife. Finding other like-minded women is one of the best ways I find encouragement, even if I don’t know them personally. In my last post, I talked about her other books, Wife After God: Drawing Closer to God & Your Husband, Husband After God: Drawing Closer To God And Your Wife, Thirty-One Prayers For My Husband: Seeing God Move in His Heart, and Thirty-One Prayers For My Wife: Seeing God Move In Her Heart that I got for DJ and I. But what I am looking forward to in this book, is that it reinforces the fact that God can create an intimacy in your marriage like no other. This book talks about the struggles in her marriage in the beginning and how God helped them. While DJ and I aren’t struggling in our marriage, it can always be stronger, and that is what I am hoping this book can help me do.
2. “If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free” by Jamie Ivey
I have recently gotten into listening to podcasts, and one of my favorite podcasts is Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher. On one of her recent podcasts she interviewed Jamie Ivey, who has the podcast Happy Hour. I started listening to her podcast as well and learned about her book that she just released. In one of the podcasts, her husband interviews her (and they are the absolute cutest) and I learned a little bit more about what is in her book. I immediately went to Amazon and added it to my cart because she talked about struggles that she went through that I find myself going through. Embarrassing struggles that make me feel all alone, and in her book she lets all the mess out and talks about how Jesus helped her. I believe everyone should read this because who doesn’t have a past that they are ashamed of? I cannot wait for this book to help me come to terms with my past and be able to share it and help others as well.
3. “Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living” by Shauna Niequist
Just the title of this book makes me want to read it. I am constantly focusing on everything I need to do; my photography, growing the blog, taking care of SJ, getting ready for AJ, being the best wife I can be for DJ, trying to spend time with God, doing everything I can to keep our life together. And I just feel frantic, my mind never stops, and I think this book will help me slow down, focus on what needs to be focused on, and be a better me.
4. “Mom Set Free: Find Relief from the Pressure to Get It All Right” by Jeannie Cunnion
This goes with why I want to read the last book as well, but focuses more on the mom aspect on my life. I feel as if I am constantly judged on how I mother SJ, and soon AJ as well. I am always being questioned in the decisions DJ and I decide on how to raise the girls. I feel like I am under constant pressure to be the perfect mom, to get it all right, to prove that my decisions are valid and what is right for our family. It is simply exhausting. In Jeannie Cunnion’s book, it talks about parenting through the gospel to “empowers us to live—and parent—in the freedom for which Christ has set us free.” What mom doesn’t need that relief?
5. “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands“ by Lysa TerKeurst
I love Lysa TerKeurst! I recently finished her book “Uninvited” and it was phenomenal. It felt real, and that’s what I love in an author. I am a total people pleaser, I have a hard time telling people no because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. In this book she talks about understanding the commandment to love one another, escaping the guilt of saying no, and getting past the endless demands put on our lives today.
Just as important as it is to read for self development, I definitely believe in reading for fun. One of my favorite parts of reading is getting completely lost in a book. It’s like a vacation to me. I have an overactive imagination so when I say I get lost in a book, I completely mean it. I have been very focused on reading self development books and after too much, it starts to feel like a chore, which is why reading a good fiction book is a must!
Fiction and Fun Faith-Based Books
6. “Woman of God” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
7. “Angels Walking: A Novel” (Book 1 of 3) by Karen Kingsbury
Every now and then you just need a good love story, or series. I was a bit confused when I first found this series on Amazon because each one says it is a novel, but it is indeed a series. I am a sucker for a cheesy, romantic love story, but so many out there now just seem like they are all about one thing: sex. And I’ll be honest, I’ve read a lot of them. But recently, I find myself just being uncomfortable reading them. So when I found a genre section on Amazon titled “Religious Romance” I couldn’t pass it up. Also, Karen Kingsbury is a New York Times Best Selling Author, so I know these books have to be good.
8. “The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers
This book was just released today (February 6th). It is another book I found in the Religious Romance section, and I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw it. It’s about an artist and his new assistant, how they both wrestle with demons of their past, and how something changes the course of their relationship. It has drama, suspense, love, art, and hints at having a faith base to it as well. I absolutely cannot wait to dive into this fiction novel since it has been so long since I have read something just for fun and not just for self development.
9. “Love’s Return: A Christian Romance“(Protected by Love Book 1 of 3) by T.K. Chapin
This is another series I look forward to reading that is just all about love and God coming back into two people’s lives; “God’s love can return to our lives when we allow Him into our hearts, minds and soul. It’s only through the softening of our heart can we find the healing that we need.” It sounds like it has the drama and romance that this hopeless romantic bookworm needs!
10. “She’s Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You“ by Chrystal Evans Hurst
11. “100 Days to Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self” by Annie F. Down
What books are on your reading list?