Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson

In a existential, mid-life crisis I found myself questioning my career choices.  I signed up for therapy, and reached out to other veterinarians.  I was giving too many f*cks about too many trivial matters.  I was taking the f*cks of others too seriously.   Other vets recommended the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.   I ask for your tolerance in advance for the language of this post, but the use of the F-bomb seems appropriate in the face of this book.  If you can't tolerate the use of that particular 4-letter word, this book is definitely not for you.   Just to keep my blog more consistent with my usual, I'm going to use the word flip instead.

So what is this book all about?  Basically if you asked Deadpool to rewrite a combination of Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud and other self help books, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck would be the result.  It's fun to read with numerous anecdotes...and the profanity is significantly reduced in the second half.

We all are human beings...finite creatures with limited energy, time, and resources.  We will all have problems, but Manson encourages the reader to choose your problems wisely.  Choose what problems are worth the struggle!  We have a limited amount of flips to give so give them out wisely! Instead of focusing our life on outward values, inward values will bring greater content.  For example, if your goal is to be more successful than Bob, you won't appreciate your personal success as long as Bob is more successful than you.   Values like integrity, doing your personal best, work/life balance etc...will define your personal contentment.   Another theme of this book that provoked great thought was the concept that suffering leads to self improvement.   Suffering is expected and a normal part of life.  It's what propels us into becoming better people, better workers, better spouses...and better-ness in general.

Overall this was a fun summer read, but you can find the information presented more eloquent (more PC way) in other books.   There will be certain people that I recommend this book for, but not all!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Theft of Swords, Michael J. Sullivan

Theft of Swords is a fantasy adventure novel featuring 2 unlikely heroes.  Hadrian and Royce were 2 thieves hired to steal a sword from a king...except when they arrived to perform the deed, they found the king dead.  The 2 adventurers set out on a grand adventure while running for their lives.  This is first in a series called the Riyria Revelations.   I listened to this series on Audible, and it was the first time I really appreciated the narrators as voice actors.  My husband and I were fully engrossed in the story right from the beginning.   There were some fabulous twists and memorable characters.  I literally yelled out "YEAH! YOU GO, GIRL!" at numerous points.  I loved this series because not only are Hadrian and Royce interesting characters, but Thrace and Arista are strong female leads.   If you read through the entire series, you will embark on a journey down rivers, infiltrate dwarf strongholds, sail the high seas, and explore lost cities.  You will laugh and cry!  This a fabulous series and I strongly recommend it!  I don't want to spoil a single twist so I'll just keep this review short! 

Next up:
Self Therapy by Jay Earley

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fool Proofing Your Life by Jan Silvious

This book is a tough one for me.  I really haven't decided yet on what I think about it.  The premise is that there are "fools" who make life difficult for everyone around them.  There have always been such people.  Silvious takes a look at the biblical description of a fool, categorizes types of fools, and then gives practical advice for dealing with the fool in your life. 

I struggled most with this book on  the fact that she refers to the difficult person in your life as "your fool."  It felt prideful to think of someone in my life and label them as a fool.  After all, perhaps I am the biggest fool.   Despite my hesitance to label people fools, Fool Proofing Your Life did have some biblical, practical insight into dealing with "your fool."  If you have someone in your life you just can't seem to make happy, who just seems angry all the time, who doesn't listen to reason, who stubbornly insists on their way, who consistently makes bad decisions...this book can help you take a step back and evaluate what you can do for your fool.... nothing.  You are incapable of changing another human being, so Silvious encourages you to look critically at the relationship and give it to God.  Accepting that is NOT my responsibility to change or improve the "fools" around me in a sense was liberating.  However, I didn't find the answers I was searching for with regards to how to relate to my difficult person, but the book still validate my feelings toward a particular person. 

The other thing this book did for me was inspired me to really read the Proverbs.  I highlighted every reference to what is foolish and what is wisdom.  I made a list of the characteristics of a fool, and I'm spending quite a bit of time in prayer to ask God to help me choose wisdom of foolishness.

If you have a person that is difficult to be around and you always leave feeling defeated, angry, or guilty, this book may be of help to you.  I have someone like that in my life...and I've really struggled with how do I relate to them in a God-honoring way and this book did have a few nuggets of wisdom for me...but I'm still searching, studying, and practicing.  I think my next book will be Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.

A Loving Life - Paul E. Miller

A Praying Life by Paul Miller is one of those books that actually changed the way I thought about prayer.  I found it so touching that I was excited to see A Loving Life was also published.   A Loving Life is a short read examining the book of Ruth in the bible and more specifically her hesed (loving-kindness) toward Naomi.

What is love? A passionate, fleeting feeling?  What is our biblical, God-given calling when the person you love is difficult?  This book outlined Ruth's response to such a query.   When Naomi's husband and 2 sons passed away, 3 women were left unprotected in a patriarchal society.  Naomi decided to travel back from Moab to Bethlehem, her home town.  Orpah, upon Naomi's urging, quickly abandoned the journey to stay in Moab with her family.  Ruth cannot be persuaded to leave Naomi even though it means the loss of her family, culture, and home for an unknown and unstable future.  Her sacrificial love for Naomi exemplifies hesed and models Christ's love for his people.  I enjoyed reading insight into the culture of the day and learned many things I had never known about the familiar story of Ruth and Naomi. 

Miller's anecdotal style made this book easy to read with many applications to real life.   If you are struggling to love someone who is ...not very lovable, this book will be an encouragement to you! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mom Enough

10 years ago if you had asked me how I felt about mother hood, I would have said it was a goal secondary to pursuing my career. “I could never be a stay-at-home-mom…I’d go crazy.”  Who knew that the moment I held my first little baby after a long, exhausting, and painful day of labor, my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces and then reassembled in a manner more complicated and beautiful than ever before?  In that moment, my life changed dramatically.  My husband and I fell in love with this tiny creature who immediately wrapped her tiny fingers around my finger…and my heart.  Then…the mommy wars started pressuring me…
How could you possibly go back to work?  Did you breastfeed for over a year?  You should try baby wearing…how could you put your baby in a stroller?  Do this, not this.   The judgment and pressure from society can be simply overwhelming and can suck some of the joy out of motherhood. 

This book is a delightful collaborative effort among 7 mothers to provide women with a godly view of motherhood.  So are you "mom enough?"  The answer to this question according to this book is a resounding NO. are not mom enough on your own, but God is infinitely more than you could imagine.  Together with God, you are mom enough.

"And somehow, in God’s mathematics of grace: Mom (never enough) + God (infinitely enough) = Mom enough"

The book is formatted in easy to read, short, digestible chapters.  It reads much like a collaborative blog.  Each woman brings her own unique perspective and insight.  It starts out with a chapter on “Motherhood is a Calling.”  Our culture is afraid of servitude, afraid of living a life of sacrifice for another, and afraid that you won’t be able to accomplish your life goals if you are a mother.  As a Christian mother, our calling is more than a call to a life of resentful drudgery, but instead a way to model Jesus’ sacrificial love to our children and to the world through motherhood.  Jesus loves the little children. 

The rest of the book covers a variety of subjects from motherhood as a mission, maintaining an eternal view, trusting God with your children, prayer, letting go of society’s impossible standards, embracing love, ending the Mommy Wars, practicing Grace, and an treasure box of other topics.  It is the perfect combination of conviction and grace.   I highly recommend it to any Christian mother, and it would make a great baby shower gift.

Did I mention you can read it for free?   You can download the entire book at

Sunday, February 28, 2016

David and Goliath - Malcom Gladwell

Hello my friends!  Reading moved to a back burner as I learned over the last year how to be a mother to both a teenager and a toddler.  Although I'm still working on that, I've found time and energy to read again.  This year, I want to read about 1 non-fiction book a month.  David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell was the first.

In his book, Gladwell outlines tales of the underdog and challenges the reader to view being the not always undesirable!  There are advantages to being the underdog.   He discusses examples of people rising from the loss of parents, dyslexia, mediocre colleges, persecution, and political oppression.  He uses a series of stories to outline his points.  While not a scientific work, the stories are challenging to a typical worldview.  Small is not always weak.  Large is not always strong.

My favorite part of the book was the portion that described stories from famous and less famous black civil rights activists.  We played this portion out loud to my teenage son, and it struck his interest as well.   "Are these people real?"  Wyatt Walker was described in the book the Brer Rabbit of civil rights.  He staged protests and riots with hopes of tricking authorities into arresting and causing a national scene to draw attention to racism and inequality.   His strategies were very carefully thought out and enacted. In all ways he was an underdog, but he used that to his advantage. 

Overall this was a fun read - full of anecdotes of unlikely successes.  It will change how you view "the underdog."

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Praying Life - by Paul E. Miller

As I go to sleep, I've been reading this book to help me unwind and refocus.  This book is different from other books on prayer that I've read.  It's real. It's honest.  It's gritty.  It's practical.  Miller identifies common barriers to an effective prayer life including a tiny attention span, distractions, and feeling like you are too far disconnected from God to pray.   He explains what a child-like faith in prayer actually means in real life.  Miller uses anecdotes from his personal life to communicate practical tips on prayer.  My favorite part of the book was his explanation on prayer cards.  After reading about the first mention of these cards, I promptly skipped ahead to the chapter describing them and made prayer cards for my family, church, and country.  Finally...a way to pray that fits my scattered, tired thoughts in between late night diaper changes and feedings!  This is a great book for anyone (ie...every Christian) who struggles with prayer.   I highly recommend it.