Review of books- January 2018

Goal Setting Life Lessons Self-improvement

In January I successfully read two motivational books! Go me! And as their genre implies, they have really motivated me to improve myself in 2018, while still embracing my perfect flaws.

I began 2018 by reading Lara Casey’s first book, Make It Happen, and it did not disappoint. It really showed a vulnerable side to Lara Casey, a woman who is constantly on social media, always so happy and moving forward and seemingly has her life togetherp. But in this book she explains how she got to the point of starting what became Cultivate What Matters, her battles with anorexia in college, her first failed marriage, and nearly second failed marriage, repeated bouts of doing well with help from Christ, but constantly turning back to herself for everything and ending up in a place of failure.

The thing we fear is what we give power to in our lives.
-Lara Casey

This really is the story of all of us. Whether you are a Christian or not, divorcee or not, we all have bouts of doing very well, and bouts of failing at life. Bouts of having strength, in which we are smoothly sailing through life, and bouts of grasping at any bit of progress we can. These are usually moments where we feel like we are trying our hardest to succeed, but all we get is failure.

Part of me wanted to continue believing the lies because they meant I didn’t have to try to be anything. I could hide. But God wired us to be something for Him. Not for your own gain or praise, but all for Him. The restlessness you may feel is there for a reason, calling you to step into the truth.
-Lara Casey

While reading this book I thought about what God’s purpose for me is, but frustratingly He will not just lay it all out for me! He won’t give me my life roadmap, no matter how much I pray. But I know first, He wants me to be healthy, which is why I’m really focusing on my physical and mental health this year. I’m focusing on eating well and taking my meds, as well as spending time with the Lord and giving up my stress.

Living on purpose doesn’t mean having your dream job; it means being all there right where you are.
-Lara Casey

Since I was in second grade, I wanted to be a teacher. Obviously that didn’t work out, but periodically I have had dips into education and those times in my life have always felt right. But every time I was in the classroom, I ended up falling ill. I’m looking into tutoring or even education research, but I know education is my thing, just not how yet. I am, however, starting a second master’s program in the fall in Education with a focus on Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy. But don’t worry, I’ll keep doing this blog as well.

The second book I read was Adulting by hilarious journalist Kelly Williams Brown. As she says in the beginning of the book:

Adult isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. It’s the act of making correctly those small decisions that fill our day. It is one that you can practice, and that can be done in concrete steps.
-Kelly Williams Brown

Does anyone else feel like a failure as an adult? There have been times in my adult life when I have had my act together, I’ve paid all of my bills on time, I’ve been able to balance my time between work and a social life. I’ve cooked and cleaned, and not shopped all the time. I’ve been able to call myself an adult.

Then there are other times, like now, when my house is a mess, I pay my bills on time, but too often I realize they are due tomorrow and have to scramble to pay them on time, most of the food I eat is delivery, and I sometimes go days without more than a brief glimpse of the outside. My 2018 is about learning how to adult again, but also giving myself grace to not be perfect.

Kelly has divided the 468 “easy(ish)” steps into 11 chapters:

  1. Get your mind right- basically, you are not as special as your mom always said you were
  2. Domesticity- finding a home and keeping it in order
  3. Cooking- you can’t survive off of ramen and restaurants
  4. Fake it till you make it- dress for the person you want to be, not the person you are
  5. Get a job- it sucks but it’s part of being an adult
  6. Money- live within your means
  7. Maintenance- throwing your nice clothes on the floor is not the way to keep them nice
  8. Friends and neighbors- they are necessities
  9. Love- another necessity, or you can get a bunch of cats….
  10. Times were tough- resiliency through the bad times because there will be a lot of bad times
  11. Families- because even after we move out, they will still be in our lives

And this book provides incredible advice that is helpful for me even though I am celebrating my tenth college reunion this year and have a husband who depends on me (and me on him). Some of those that were most impactful for me were:

Step 7: Avoid the shame boomerangs- we will make mistakes, try to figure out a way to stop making the same ones over and over.

Step 68: Have a slated grocery shopping time that includes prep time (which I talk about in how to keep a house running smoothly and a lesson I learned from Whole30).

Step 87: Remember that the outside world only sees your outermost layer- so don’t worry if your entire morning was one failure after another, the world only sees the smile on your face and your confidence at that moment.

And these are just a few of the truth bombs Kelly shares in her book. No matter how old you are, this is definitely a book for anyone who is trying to “adult” but doesn’t feel as though they have it together.

In February I’m reading Cultivate by Lara Casey, as well as Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley. I am really looking forward to my continued improvement!

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