It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for us, crazy in (mostly) the best ways. There has been stress, and there has been drama, but more than ever, I am grateful for the celebrations happening one right after the other this summer – my mom’s milestone birthday, our 10 year (!!!) wedding anniversary, answered house prayers, and sisters’ baby showers. I could ride the wave of champagne all the way to the end of the year, but there’s more to the story (isn’t there always more to the story?).
I believe that books, like people, come into your life at just the right time. The books in my life right now are focused on themes these that I need the most – contemplation, contentment and creativity.
Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation by Phileena Heuertz. This has been on my nightstand for months, but I just started actually reading it this past weekend at our cabin stay. She writes: “In solitude, we develop the capacity to be present. In silence, we cultivate the ability to listen. And in stillness we acquire the skill of restraint or self-control.” In just the first few pages, I’ve found so much wisdom for this journey of letting go of the “compulsions to be identified with what we have, what we do, and what others say about us” and learning how to fully experience God’s love. Hannah Brencher wrote recently, “Consume grace regularly, as if it were a vitamin” – wow, yes, one hundred percent. I fully believe in embracing practices that enable that transformation by grace and that also teach me how to cope with the unending pain and suffering in this world. Reading this book makes me even more excited to attend a grounding retreat with one of my best friends this fall.
The Contentment Journal by Rachel Cruze. I know that this is a journal and not a book book, but I love it. I listened to a podcast recently with Rachel Cruze, who also identifies as an Enneagram 3, and what she said made so much sense to me. This journal focuses on gratitude, humility, and contentment – all of which I need to intentionally cultivate daily. God is working on my heart in these areas, and the process of journaling through these values is a helpful one for me.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’m sure I’ll be working through this book all summer, but two takeaways that I’m starting to implement in my life: morning pages (using Elise Joy’s #100dayproject tracker) and the artist date. I tend to live life on the full end of the spectrum, but I hit my capacity recently with all kinds of work and tasks, leaving me feeling creatively depleted. I believe strongly in creative work, so I plan to use this summer to recalibrate, reassess, and rebuild my routine. I came across a quote by Yung Pueblo on instagram that said, “As she shed the tense energy of the past, her power and creativity returned to her. With a revitalized excitement, she focused on building a new life where joy and freedom were abundant.” Yes to power, yes to creativity, yes to joy, and yes to freedom. I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and look forward to diving into it this season.
Reading and working through these books simultaneously, the more I see how these themes intersect. Contemplative practice teaches contentment in all circumstances. With contentment comes the peace and freedom to create well and tell the truth. Engaging with creativity enables the fostering of meaningful connections.
What books are you reading this summer that are helping you grow?