36 books finished in 2017: Daring Greatly

36 books finished in 2017

This is embarrassing.

I enrolled in an online course with Brene Brown in January 2016. It was a semester-long endeavor that included reading this book and her next one, Rising Strong.

It’s been a while, but I think the main reason I fizzled out in the course was that I wasn’t able to connect with the stories in the discussion section. I realized that…everyone else there was probably my mother’s age or older. And then, maybe I started to wonder if it was incredibly uncool? Either way, I stopped keeping up with the online course (though the content is still available to me, and I will probably take advantage of the videos and application tools at some point). Maybe it was guilt over underachieving as a student that kept me from picking up the book again, but it had been sitting next to my nightstand for MORE THAN A YEAR, even after a move, with only a quarter of the book left to read.

So I brought it on vacation, and ended up finishing the book in the airport on the way to Florida.

My inability to read this book quickly is in no way related to how awesome the book’s insights happen to be. I’m still a superhuge Brene Brown fangirl, and still harbor a dream of following her career path (the research part, not the speaker/author part), but I am so glad to finally finish this book.

ON TO THE NEXT ONE. Maybe I’ll be able to finish it in less than a year?

35 books finished in 2017: Loving the Stranger

35 books finished in 2017

We have a fledgling refugee ministry at our church – we’ve mostly been doing a lot of learning and listening, discovering what resources already exist in our community (SO MANY) and also trying to learn what it might look like for us to support/enhance some of this work. But also, we’re having a lot of conversations about, you know, spending actual time with refugees. (Which can sometimes be the crucial piece that is often left out of the brainstorming and structure-building, etc.)

The staff member in charge of this group brought a pile of books that had been recommended to him, and asked people to read and report back. I’ve already finished one, and this is the second I picked up.

This is the ideal book for any Christian who’s interested in caring for refugees but feeling really intimidated. It’s super-practical (“Here are suggested topics of conversation for getting to know someone from another culture.”) and very warm and encouraging – and she starts the book with “This is what the Bible says about caring for strangers, and here are some verses explaining God’s heart for them.”

Since it’s such an easy read and so practical, I strongly recommend it to anyone who cares about this topic.

34 books finished in 2017: The Road Back to You

34 books finished in 2017

More Enneagram madness!

This is a new book, which was launched with a podcast (as seems to be the trend these days). I listened to most of the podcast episodes before deciding to buy the book. It’s a great tool for understanding the different types, and can help confirm your suspicions about your own number. It also offers suggestions for spiritual growth based on your number.

28 books finished in 2017: The Enneagram Made Easy

28 books finished in 2017

Confession: one reason I read fewer personal growth books these days is that I don’t always want to admit that I’m doing it. But here we are, with a super-cheesy Enneagram book borrowed from a friend when I was in the midst of turmoil because I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT MY NUMBER. (Spoiler: I’m a 9. Which is a number that’s frequently difficult to pin down.)

I was honestly pissed when Enneagram became popular in my circles, because I’d spent a lot of time learning about MBTI many years ago (when a housemate was super-into it, and did you know that a common feature of 9s is their willingness to adopt the hobbies/interest of friends and family?) and Enneagram is a LOT more complicated. I was not going to learn something new.

But then Beach Week happened, and all of the other chaperones were talking about it, and then the STUDENTS wanted to talk with them about it, and I felt left out!

That’s right. I learned about this solely so I could join the conversations. But, once I got through the difficulty of finding my number, I’ve actually found the language of the Enneagram (and the freedom of movement among the types, in stress or in health/integration, which describes the variables of our lived experience) to be very helpful.

So I’ve moved from a person who was utterly opposed to learning about Enneagram to a person who could probably talk about it all the time. And I still judge myself a little bit for that. Join me? (In judgment, or in excitement.)