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This month I'm reading ...

Find out what Amy is recommending for January ...

Welcome! We’re glad you’ve joined us to discuss all things books. Here and in the Facebook group we love to make a cuppa and talk about the latest books we’ve read – why we liked them, what we gained, or why we wanted to throw them across the room in disgust.

Each month in the magazine, I choose a book or two and tell you how they captured me. I also interview a Christian author about their love of books. And I choose five top reviews from you – and those women receive complimentary copies of my selection and the latest book from the author I interview.

Join in and let us know what you’re reading. We benefit from the lively banter and interchanges. And come on over to our Facebook group, where along with our discussions we often have extra book giveaways.

I look forward to hearing what you’re reading!

Amy Boucher Pye

This month I'm reading…

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
(Zondervan, ISBN 978-0310346715)

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt
(Baker, ISBN 978-0801018848)

Do you start the new year with resolutions, such as to eat better, rest more, complain less? Resolutions may be helpful, but often ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ don’t change our hearts – or our behaviours. We need change at a deeper, soul level.

Like that which Shauna Niequist embraced when she was on the brink of burning out from too much work and travel. Although she was a wife and mother of two young boys, she kept saying ‘yes’ to the many opportunities that came along. But that meant less time at home – less time to be and rest and love.

On the verge of collapse, she learned to say ‘no’. It became for her “the scalpel I wielded as I remade my life, slicing through the tender tissue of what needed to go and what I wanted to remain”. She also embraced the ancient spiritual practices of the Christian faith such as Ignatius’s prayer of examen (praying through the events of the day in the evening) and lectio divina (praying with a text from Scripture). As she slowed down, decluttering her heart and her home, she started to understand that her worth came not from producing but from being God’s beloved.

This may not be your struggle; Present over Perfect will speak most, perhaps, to those like her who are juggling many aspects of life. But we all can use the reminder that our worth comes from God and his love, and not because we meet the needs and expectations of others. Her book, read at the beginning of the year, reminds us that we need not shame-inducing resolutions, but God’s transforming love.

I hesitated selecting Living Forward  because its lists and pointers and inspirational quotations can make me feel tired. But with some caveats, it can be a helpful tool to consider how – with the Lord – to live in 2017. It provides the tools for life planning; that is, how to stop drifting and live intentionally. After writing our own eulogy, which shocks us into a sense of clarity about what we value most, we learn how to say ‘no’ to the good so that we can say ‘yes’ to the best.

I appreciate the tools in Living Forward, but I want to ponder how all of these exercises fit together with slowing down enough to hear God and collaborate with him on how we live our lives. Living Forward doesn’t address that important aspect of life with God, but if we employ it to waken ourselves to where we’ve been drifting, it can help us to be more intentional about how to use the days we’re given. And my hope is that your days of 2017 will be filled with love and laughter and joy and fulfilment.

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