Inspiration

Six Things to Read, Watch, or Listen to This Week

Six Things to Read, Watch, or Listen to This Week

It’s that time of year: full schedules, full to-do lists; trying to keep up, show up, live up to expectations; rushing a little more, relaxing a little less. 

You know the feeling.

Often, they’re subtle changes—choices we don’t even realize we’re making until we find ourselves here: a little more anxious, a little less rested, a little more curt, a little less kind.

Maybe this is the week we give ourselves and those around us an extra measure of grace.

Maybe now is the time to step back, slow down, eliminate the nonessentials and simplify our schedules and hearts and minds.

Because teaching and leading and working from a place of stress doesn’t serve anyone.

2019 Book List

2019 Book List

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is make a list of books I’d like to read in the year ahead.

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know I don’t always get to all the books I have planned (full confession), and sometimes, I deviate from my list in favor of other books that I encounter during the year.

Regardless, I like to begin the year with intention and keep a running list of books that I want to read. (Here are my book lists from 2018, 2017, and 2016, in case you’re curious).

This year, I’m choosing books from seven different categories:

Three Things to Read, Watch, or Listen To This Week

Three Things to Read, Watch, or Listen To This Week

This is a season of wonder, of listening and leaning in, of slowing down a bit. A time when we seek calm in the midst of chaotic calendars and a brief respite from responsibility.

We crave stillness and quiet and space.

And so, my gift to you this Advent season (and week before Christmas) is a collection of things to read, watch, and listen to this week (or after Christmas, because, lets’s be honest - this time of the year can be crazy). I hope these resources inspire you, give you a new perspective, and refresh your soul during this busy season.

(Best enjoyed with a cup of eggnog and a gingerbread cookie, obviously.)

Enjoy!

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2018

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2018

I never used to consider myself much of a reader, but it’s something I’ve been cultivating in my personal (and business) life for the past several years.

I started by setting a goal of 10 books in a year, then 12. This year, I read 16 books! Little by little, I’m learning to love reading and am exploring new authors and a variety of book categories with the hope of broadening my perspective, developing new skills, learning about myself and others, and becoming a better person in the process.

On Becoming a Better Listener

On Becoming a Better Listener

“Become a better listener.”

It was one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year, but it’s one I think I’ll have a hard time checking off and calling “done.” Because, when it comes to listening well, there isn’t a point of arrival or mastery; instead, I’m learning it’s something we can always be working on and trying to improve.

  • Being more intentional with our words and not jumping in too quickly.

  • Giving our full attention to the person speaking instead of letting our mind wander.

  • Not assuming that every point of disagreement will (or should) turn into an argument.

5 Inspirational Books to Read This Summer

5 Inspirational Books to Read This Summer

There’s something so quintessential about having a good book (or several) to read during the summer months. From plane rides to road trips, trips to the beach or lake, picnics in the park, or simply sitting on the porch in the afternoon, reading is the perfect pastime for those sweet, slow summer days.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I tend to make my book list for the year in January (here’s what I plan to read in 2018, in case you’re curious). The list may change as I go through the year and pick up books on sale here and there or come across a newly-released book that I want to read, but I like to begin the year with a list of books (one per month) already picked out.

What We Can Learn From Others: Six Things to Listen to, Watch, or Read This Week

What We Can Learn From Others: Six Things to Listen to, Watch, or Read This Week

There's a message that bears endless repeating and living out in our world today: we need each other. 

We live in a world where we are taught to live in fear of those who are different, to question those with differing beliefs, to be defensive and respond to violence with more violence; but the truth is, we need each other.

We need diversity - different perspectives and ways of seeing the world, different skills and approaches, different opinions. Each one of us is unique, in the way we approach the world, the things we create, the skills and talents we cultivate, and the way we use those gifts in service to others. This is a gift, and an opportunity to learn.

The Importance of Creating a Sabbath

The Importance of Creating a Sabbath

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” - Exodus 20:8

The idea of a Sabbath is probably not new to most of you. You’ve likely heard about it in church, read about it in your Bible, and seen it outlined on countless 10 Commandment posters, but what does it really mean to "remember the Sabbath day”? How do we “keep it holy”?

Before we get into the details of all that, here’s a little bit of the history behind this sacred practice:

History of the Sabbath

We read about it from the beginning of the Bible, how God finished the work of creation and rested on the seventh day. "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:3)

2018 Book List

2018 Book List

One of my favorite things about beginning a new calendar year is choosing which books I want to read in the coming months.

I like to read one book at a time and one book per month seems to be a good pace for me. I also like to read slowly and take notes as I go (these are my favorite journals for book notes) so I can go back and review the highlights later.

I lean toward books that challenge me to think in a new way or look at the world from a new perspective; books that teach me something or inspire me or help me grow in some area of my life. I use the following categories as a basic framework:

Health/Lifestyle
Spiritual
Personal
Business

Why What We Are Doing Is Important

Why What We Are Doing Is Important

Today's post is written by my church musician friend, Janis Maxwell. She's the Director of Youth Music Ministry and Organist at Athens First United Methodist in Athens, GA. I hope her thoughtful perspective on ministry encourages and blesses you in your work this season.

- Ashley

"Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing." - Psalm 100:2

As I reflect on the topic, “Why What We Are Doing Is Important”, this Bible verse pops into my head.