We are in the thick of December! (Um, how?!) I’m sure by now you’re gearing up to go home for Christmas and if you’re already “home” I hope you’re reading this from a comfy couch somewhere next to a fireplace snuggled up with one of those chunky throws that are all the rage. Bonus points if there’s snow outside your window.
As you know, I am staying put for once and will be in LA for Christmas. I plan on cranking up the A/C to recreate the effects of a proper holiday. I’ll likely end up at The Grove, in a scarf (for decoration, not necessity) attempting to make a snow angel in the fake snow, which will be impossible because it melts as soon as it hits the ground.
Then I’ll get one of those almond milk in an ice-cream cone situations and be on my merry way, because, hey, LA isn’t all that bad. Honestly — though I’ll miss the Chicago tundra — I’m actually looking forward to just laying low and taking it easy. Palm trees and all. It’ll be the perfect time to catch up on my reading.
Speaking of which, the December Library List is here! I have pulled together a list of books I cannot wait to read this month and I’m so excited to share it with you. This month’s theme is from the inside out and these books will change your life in precisely that way.
See below for the list and let me know if you’ll be reading along! We can start a #virtualbookclub, ha (I’m not kidding though… slide into my DMs).
01 | FAITH FORWARD FUTURE BY CHAD VEACH
What can I say about Chad Veach? First of all, the guy’s got energy for days. His family is incredible. His wife is #wifegoals (/#momgoals… /#humangoals). He is the pastor of Zoe, one of most life-giving churches in Los Angeles which is full of some of the most creative souls on the planet. And he has mad love for Jesus.
Faith Forward Future is the second book of Chad’s I’ll have read (the first was Unreasonable Hope inspired by his darling daughter #G) and I can’t wait to dive in. He has a conversational way of delivering God’s truth, using relatable stories from his life you won’t soon forget.
Faith Forward Future is for anybody with a dream on their heart who might feel a little discouraged when it comes to pursuing it. Perhaps you’ve been disappointed, had a failure or a setback. Maybe you just feel like the road ahead is a little bleak.
The Bible tells us that God promises us immeasurably more than we can ask or think. Yet, often, it’s hard to wrap our heads around that so we try to sell ourselves short, opting for a “safer” path. Chad reminds us that God has always known us, always cared for us, and has always seen our full potential.
But it’s our job to step into that God-given potential with God — by grace, through faith. In doing so, we’ll need to believe in a better tomorrow and remember to see ourselves the way Jesus sees us (loved, chosen, called), not through a limited view of our worth.
In his book, Chad shows us how to move past distractions and regret, trust God with our whole heart, and follow Him into the future He’s always had for us. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to do precisely that.
02 | HOW’S YOUR SOUL BY JUDAH SMITH
“How are you? No, how are you, really? How is your soul?” Judah asked us. I was sitting among about 1,500 other people, and I’m pretty sure his question struck a chord with all of us. I know it did with me.
How is my soul? I wondered. It’s funny how we go through the hustle and bustle of each day and we don’t really stop to think about how we’re doing on the inside, our emotional stability, our feelings, the root of our desires and frustrations.
In his book, How’s Your Soul, Judah digs a little deeper into what really matters in life, what we’re all searching for whether we realize it or not — stability, peace, hope, and love. He calls it our “inside you.”
If you have ever heard a message by Judah, you’re familiar with his story-telling ability. It’s unparalleled. (If you haven’t, this archive will keep you busy for days).
Not only is he hilarious (you’ll laugh 90% of the time he talks), but sometimes he goes off on these thoroughly entertaining tangents and just as you start to think where are you going with this Judah? he hits you with a punchline that connects the dots, brings it home, and turns your whole world upside down. I’m talking mind. blown.
It’s his gift, one of many, and this book is his gift to us. In it, Judah invites us to steady our spirit on something greater — God’s truth. By healing our soul through rest, responsibility, restraint, and relationships, we root ourselves in something deeper, something that has the power to give us the emotional stability we all crave.
We aren’t meant to go through life “fine” or worse, surviving. We’re meant to have peace, thrive, and embrace a joy so deep it, at times, surpasses understanding. We need the tools to get there, though, and they can be found in this book.
03 | A SIMPLIFIED LIFE BY EMILY LEY
Fun fact: I used to be a professional organizer in New York. People would pay hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars to have an organized space. Most of the time that includes purging unnecessary things, downsizing, and simplifying to the point of only keeping things you truly want.
Beyond the physical clutter that often surrounds us, there’s also emotional and mental clutter. We keep so many balls in the air while wearing so many hats, it’s no wonder we end up with things like junk drawers, endless to-do lists, and moments of blatant absentmindedness.
Now, as an organizer, I’d only tackle your closet problems. Maybe the occasional kitchen. Emily, on the other hand, is giving away the strategies, systems, and methods for permanently decluttering, organizing your priorities, and living intentionally in 10 key areas.
In her brilliant book, A Simplified Life, she is giving us the tools to simplify everything from our homes, wardrobes, beauty routines, meals, and schedules to finances, hospitality, technology, self, motherhood, and faith. (Seriously how is this book only $13? It’s like the secrets of organizing and years of therapy combined.)
As organized as I am, even I need this book. Beyond teaching how to streamline your home, she shows us how to take the stress out of meal planning, maintain a calendar with a margin (I’m skipping right to that chapter), get a handle on money, serve and love others well, create healthy tech boundaries, take care of yourself first and foremost, discover grace in motherhood, and connect daily with what matters.
All. In. One. Book. This book should be called “Simple Strategies for Winning At Life. You’re Welcome.” Maybe that title was too long or taken, but, trust me, get this book and read it before 2018. Why? So next year can be your best year yet. Filled with meaning, purpose, simplicity, joy, and enough space to accommodate what matters most to you.
Which of these will you add to your must-read list?
Please note, these books were provided to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.