Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Reading List

Every so often, I like to share what I'm reading. What's on my shelf, what's caught my eye. I realized the other day that I haven't shared what I've been reading in awhile....probably because I'm not reading too much! I feel like I read many more interesting books when I was in college, because I had to for classes (that was definitely the good part of being a religion major- all the fun books to read!). As I'm finding myself find a routine again, I find the urge to relax and curl up with a book. It's just the "safe and comfortable" thing for me. It's comforting to curl up under a quilt and read before bed. It's comforting to lie in a bubble bath while reading. Anyways, long story short- I'm back on the book reading train.

I've been prayerfully considering leading a bible study/small group this summer on healthy self esteem and body image and what God has to say about all of that. It's funny. I planned for things to work out one way, but God works in funny ways and things work out differently- but still really good. I'm at a peace about the study, which will be for 3rd-5th grade girls- but I'm kind of nervous about writing my own curriculum. There's just nothing out there on the market like what I want to do, which is incorporating art and creating projects while discussing the themes of the study. I've found two books that I plan on reading to hopefully inspire the curriculum.

Perfectly Unique was written by Annie Downs. I haven't read too many of her blogs, but I've heard good things about this book and it's author! The description reads as follows,
Your body is an instrument. No, it’s not a flute, or a guitar (I hope). It is a sacred and original design by a master craftsman with a specific plan and purpose. That’s a pretty big deal. From head to foot, the way you view your body is directly connected to how you serve God. Seriously. From the thoughts you think to the steps you take, every part of you is linked to the divine. Perhaps you are struggling with your body image or are trying to make sense of why God made you as you are. Maybe you are looking for new ways to understand Scripture or to love God more fully. Either way, this book will take you on a thoughtful, funny, and spirit-filled exploration of the way you were designed and will help you better honor the Creator by learning to value his perfectly unique creation (yourself!).

The second book I plan on using is Graceful, by Emily Freeman. I just love Emily and her blog. I used her book Grace for the Good Girl in some papers I wrote for college. It's one of my absolute favorite books, so I thought that getting the companion written for girls would be a great idea! Here's the description:
You know her--the good girl. She's the reliable one who shows up every week at youth group wearing a purity ring and a smile. She gets good grades, makes the team, and doesn't need to be told to come home on time. But deep down she is crushed by the weight of the responsibility to be the good one, the smart one, the one who never messes up.
With the same candor and gentle spirit she showed women in Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman now gives young women what they need to be free on the inside, no matter what's going on outside. Through an honest look at the roles girls play, she helps them learn to stop trying and start trusting that the Jesus who came to save them also comes to live with them, right here and now.
Freefall to Fly is the third book on my list. I've been wanting to read it for awhile, so it seemed like a good time. It's not necessarily tied to the study I'm doing, more just for personal growth and development. 
Women today are fading. In a female culture built on Photoshopped perfection and Pinterest fantasies, we’ve lost the ability to dream our own big dreams. So busy trying to do it all and have it all, we’ve missed the life we were really designed for. And we are paying the price. The rise of loneliness, depression, and anxiety among the female population in Western cultures is at an all-time high. Overall, women are two and a half times more likely to take antidepressants than men. What is it about our culture, the expectations, and our way of life that is breaking women down in unprecedented ways?
In this vulnerable memoir of transformation, Rebekah Lyons shares her journey from Atlanta, Georgia, to the heart of Manhattan, where she found herself blindsided by crippling depression and anxiety. Overwhelmed by the pressure to be domestically efficient, professionally astute, and physically attractive, Rebekah finally realized that freedom can come only by facing our greatest fears and fully surrendering to God’s call on our lives. This book is an invitation for all women to take that first step toward freedom. For it is only when we free-fall that we can truly fly.
So that's what's on my list! What's on yours?

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