books

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:

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.

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.

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

Are You Running On Autopilot These Days?

Are You Running On Autopilot These Days?

Are you running on autopilot these days?

You know the feeling: distracted, absent-minded, forgetful, foggy, disengaged, disconnected.

It's easy to slip into this way of living without even realizing it, especially during months like December (can't imagine why!).

But what does running on autopilot really do for us? And how can we switch back into manual mode?

Shauna Niequist, in her book, Present Over Perfect, describes the soul as our connection point - to God, to life, and to the world around us. It’s with our souls that we really feel, that we love, that we ache, and that we feel God’s presence the most.

8 Inspirational Reads for Worship Leaders and Planners

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss

There’s a lot of truth in that statement. And the exciting thing is, we are never done learning. There are always new ideas, new processes, new perspectives to discover, explore, and seek to understand.

Reading is a great way to escape, unwind, and rest, but it’s also a useful way to learn, grow, and find inspiration. In our work as musicians and teachers, directors and coordinators, worship leaders and planners, this is extremely important.

A few years ago, I shared a few book recommendations for church musicians - choir directors, children’s choir directors, organists and accompanists, and others. Today, I’m sharing a book list for worship leaders - those of you involved in planning, leading, and facilitating worship services (traditional, contemporary, and everything in between). 

Integrating Visual Arts in Worship

Integrating Visual Arts in Worship

There’s no denying it: We live in a visual age.

Statistics show that only 10% of people remember things they hear and only 20% remember things they read. But, a remarkable 80% of people remember things they see and do. (source)

Visuals play a huge role in how we learn and process information. Did you know that our eyes process visuals 60,000x faster than text? (source). Understanding the power of visuals and the role they play in our everyday lives is crucial to planning and creating meaningful, engaging worship services.

”The visual arts used in worship bring the gospel to life.” (source)

Modern worship is informed by a rich heritage, a collection of sacred symbols and icons, and tangible things like bread and wine. How can we integrate visuals into our worship services on a more regular basis? How can we depict the story of the gospel through art and media? How can we enhance the spoken Word, the prayers, the rituals, the music with visual art forms?

2017 Book List

2017 Book List

One of my favorite things about this time of year is reading everyone's book lists. I love seeing what other people are reading, hearing about new releases, and connecting with others over shared interests.

Over the past few years, I've built a little time for reading into my daily routine (usually in the evening as we wind down from the day).

As I've shared before, I like to have variety in what I read, so I tend to choose books that cover all of these categories:

Health/Lifestyle
Spiritual
Pleasure/Personal
Business

Here are the books I plan to read (or re-read) this year:

30 Inspiring Quotes for Church Musicians

30 Inspiring Quotes for Church Musicians

To the one who feels burnt out, used, or unappreciated. To the one who feels insignificant or small. To the one who's carrying the weight of ministry and feeling burdened and tired - here are a few words of encouragement: Your work matters. 

Even if it feels like it's all been said or done before, even when it's hard, even when it goes largely unnoticed. Your voice could be the one that makes the difference in someone's life.

There will be good days and hard days, and there may even be times when you question the decision to serve in ministry. On those days, remember why you started. Remember your calling. Don't give up or let yourself feel discouraged. Focus on what's important and do good work.

2016 Book List

2016 Book List

Over the past few years, and particularly in the last few months, I’ve really come to love reading. One of my goals for December was to make time for reading every day - I’m proud to say I made that happen! It’s a habit I plan to continue in the New Year.

Reading has become something I look forward during the day - a time to be quiet, rest, and be re-filled. I enjoy reading books that inspire and encourage me to live a life of faith, books that challenge me and make me think, books that teach me something new about managing money, running a business, or being creative. 

I try to balance my reading list by choosing books that fall into these five categories:

Business
Relationships
Health/Lifestyle
Personal/Intellectual
Spiritual