I’m Retiring from Being Strong

stong-girl

I don’t want to be strong anymore. At least not the way strong is supposed to appear.

Strong people don’t ask for help. Strong people don’t cry. Strong people are always so positive.  Strong people have to pretend everything is okay when everything is not okay. Strong people have to be great, or fabulous, or blessed, or at the very least fine. Strong people are always there for others even when they are about to fall apart.  Strong people must keep going when they need rest. Rest is for the weak. Strong people are always very busy.

We don’t want to see strong people sweat, much less get angry or God forbid they cry in front of anyone. Strong people only cry in the shower. A total come apart…..no thank you. Strong people don’t get depressed or angry or exhausted.

lone-girl-on-mountain

Now we all know that’s not what strong really is but I think we also know what the approved strong behavior looks like. Many of us spend our entire lives trying to be strong. I will speak for myself and say that after about 40 years of doing what strong people are supposed to do and trying to be the way strong people are supposed to be the bottom dropped out. I just couldn’t do it anymore and I was ashamed.

If we don’t cry and but we have no joy on the inside then how strong are we really? If we are always positive but our lives are a hot mess then who cares. If everyone thinks we’re okay because I we put on a happy face but we are miserable then how does that serve us or the people around us? When we don’t rest when we are physically, mentally or emotionally exhausted then what happens when we burn out?

This is the thing. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It matters what it is. Looking strong but having no power is useless.

After after almost two years of rest, a med change and a year or so of therapy, (I’m a slow learner) I’ve decided I want to be powerful instead of appearing strong.

I want to be powerful instead of appearing strong.

Powerful people are authentic. They cry and get mad. They face their feelings and feel their fears and deal with their issues and life’s situations. They ask for what they need.

Because they don’t pretend they are strong, they become powerful and they are able to heal and move forward. Powerful people take care of  themselves  so they have the strength to be there for others. They don’t wear themselves out trying to meet unrealistic expectations until they are no good for anyone.

Powerful people know that no is a complete sentence and yes is a gift. They have boundaries. When they say yes they don’t wrap the gift of yes in resentment  because they really wanted to say no.

They don’t complain all the time and they aren’t cynical because they believe they can do something about their situation. They have faith and hope. They believe the Lord is on their side and they believe His power is at work inside of  them.

Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of HIS POWER toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might ~Ephesians 1:18-19 ESV

Many times when I pretend to be strong I just end up feeling taken advantage of, exhausted, lonely and empty. I definitely don’t feel powerful.

Powerlessness is one of the worst feelings in the world isn’t it? For me it feels like I have no choices and I feel backed into a corner and stuck. Let’s face it, we are powerless sometimes. There are people and things we just cannot change. That’s when we really have to call on God and use our faith to believe that He takes care of the things we cannot. It also takes faith to believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Because the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, when we are walking around pretending to be strong, His strength cannot be made perfect in our weakness. Then we  truly have no power. When we get real with ourselves and with Him, He is faithful to provide us with everything we need to live a powerful life. He’s cool like that.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13

 

It would make me so happy if you would let me know if any of this rings true for you. Are you burned out or have you learned to be powerful? Give us some tips! You can leave your comment below or you can leave it below this post on Facebook. Share it on your page if you know a friend who who needs to retire from being strong too.

Thanks for visiting the Land of Angela today. It is my honor to have you. Come back again soon!

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 20 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor. He loves school and church and his friends and is not fond of summer break.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 17 year old senior in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter. She’s sings in a band called Coopertheband when she’s not at school or in church.

Angela works from home as a freelance writer and blogger. She is also available to speak at your next event.

 

 

 

 


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It Feels Bad but It’s Really Good

It feels bad but it's really good.

Photo credit Dollar Photo Club

Today has been an emotional day for me. I’ve cried off and on all day long, mostly on.

I’ve cried because of the kindness and care of others. I’ve cried because of the faithfulness of the Lord. I’ve cried because I am in need of these kindnesses. I’ve cried because even on dreary days I’m so thankful to live with peace and beauty all around me. (The lake is very still and quiet and restful today.)

I’ve cried because this time of year stirs up some bad memories. I’ve cried because I still cry over those stupid memories. I’ve cried because I don’t know what my future holds and I’ve cried because the Lord has plans for my future.

I’ve cried because I can’t stop crying.

I’m sure every woman reading this can relate and every man reading this is thinking, “Yep. I’ve seen that happen before.” :}

Please don’t feel sorry for me though! It’s a good thing. I stuff things and stuff things until they come out all at once. They need to come out for my physical and mental health, so even though it feels bad, it’s really good.

Aren’t there so many things in our lives that feel bad for the moment, but they are really good?

One of my core values is to be who I am, no matter how other people are behaving or have behaved towards me.

I am not always successful and when, by the grace of God I am successful, it often feels bad!

It sometimes requires a throw-down with myself so that I won’t have one with someone else.

It requires me to put the filter on my mouth with the tiny holes so things I shouldn’t say can’t get through.

It might require doing the right thing even if I know the other person would not do the right thing if our roles were reversed.

When I live according to my core values, even in the middle of a difficult situation or when dealing with a difficult person, it may feel bad, but it’s really good.

 

It feels bad, but it's really good.

Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club

I’ve been going to therapy to work through years of stuffed down issues. My sweetheart asked me if I dread going. The answer is yes. It feels bad, but it’s really good. It is helping but I don’t enjoy the process. It’s hard and I wish I didn’t need to go there. But I do and I am.

Even exercise is hard and can feel bad in the moment, but it’s really good. (Note to self…sigh)

Think about the times when you have made a big life change. Moving, getting married, having a baby, buying a house, going to school. The process rarely ever feels good. In fact, the majority of the time the process is a real pain in the butt. We miss so much good trying to avoid the feel bad part!

I was just thinking of when I was pregnant with my sweet daughter. I puked hundreds of times. It sucked! I even told my doctor she had better be cute! I was miserable. But the result of being willing to go through the process was worth it. I am so in love with her!

Change is necessary and change is good. It is also hard and many times the middle is excruciating.  There are rewards however, in doing the hard things. (My niece says ‘however’ is a teacher word so I’m trying to sound smart now.)

 

  • We learn how to give grace to other people as they go through. The more hard things I deal with the more able I am to have compassion and empathy for others.
  • There is a confidence that comes when we come out on the other side and we are still standing.
  • Our faith grows and we learn how loving and trustworthy the Lord is.
  • We appreciate and don’t take for granted the life we get to live because we did the hard things.
  • We get to enjoy a life well lived.

I’m sure there are more. I’d love to hear yours!

A life lived trying to avoid difficulties is a life without much substance.

*Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. We should be wise and we should not create unnecessary difficulties by making bad decisions. I am saying that there are many times and many situations that are worth the effort. We should always pray and get the wisdom of God.

I want to be a person who is willing to go through some things for the good that is on the other side.  I want to be able to say at the end of the day and the year and even at the end of my life, that I lived well. I want to be able to say that even though it sometimes feels bad, my life is good.

I hope as I share a bit of my struggles in the middle today, you will be encouraged to change your perspective. Don’t be afraid to go through the process, because sometimes even if it feels bad, it’s really good.

 

Thank you for visiting the Land of Angela today. It means a lot to me that you would take the time.

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 16 year old junior in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.

 

 

 

 


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Lessons I Learned from my divorce.

I have been divorced now for four years. It was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever gone through. If it is at all avoidable, I recommend you avoid it. I handled some things well and I handled some things badly.

Today is Part 4 in a series about the things I have learned through the process. Click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 2. Click here to read Part 3.

I believe these lessons can be applied to many areas of our lives. As you read about what I’ve learned I hope you will allow God to show you the places in your life where they can be most useful.

The best lessons learned in THE MIDDLE of any circumstance or season of our lives, are the ones that teach us wisdom and can be applied as principles we live by.

Disclaimer: This is my journey and my story to tell. It is not my intention to dishonor anyone in the process of sharing these things. My prayer is to give you some food for thought as you journey through THE MIDDLE of your own challenges. It is only by the grace of God and the prayers and support of many people, that I have come to the place in my journey that I am able and willing to share some of the lessons I’ve learned. 

 

After my ex-husband and I separated, I spent the better part of 6 months barely functioning. I lost about 20 lbs because I lost my appetite. Since I’m 5’8 and started at 135, I was very unhealthy and looked sick. I barely left the house. I cried a lot. I was spent in every way. I was hurting so badly emotionally that I was in physical pain. I wasn’t suicidal, but I felt like I imagine a person with a painful terminal illness feels. I didn’t really want to die, but death would have been a relief because then the pain would stop. The only thing I was able to make myself do was parent and work, but even my children were worried about me and my work suffered.

If you ask 10 people to describe me in one word, probably at least 9 of them would say strong.  I am strong. Being strong has helped me survive a lot of challenging things. There is a problem with being strong however. I have never allowed myself to feel my feelings. My oldest friend, who happens to be a therapist, says I put things in boxes with bows on them and put them away. By the time my 16 year marriage was over, the closet was full.

The boxes were labeled with all sorts of things: Childhood, Mommy Issues, Daddy Issues, The Teenage Years, Shame, The College Years, Bad Marriage, Sick Child, Betrayal, and on and on. I’m talking about a walk in closet full of boxes. Except for those few months,  I have never allowed myself to not be OK. 

 

Lessons I learned from My Divorce

 

There was simply no more room in the closet. So I did what any strong person would do. I got up one day, and decided I clearly needed a shed instead of a closet! This ‘feeling your feelings’ thing was for the birds!

For about a year, that worked for me pretty well. I felt light again and happy. In fact, I told people I was happier than I’d ever been. Everyone patted me on the back and high-fived me! They said things like “You are the strongest person I know!” Why yes I am!

Then, about a year and a half ago, I started having one health problem after another. They were/are nothing too serious, but chronic, painful and exhausting. I became unable physically to pack and carry the little boxes with my feelings in them out to the shed.

The physical issues and pain were taking all of my emotional energy, and I had nothing left to keep the shed door closed with. I found myself in THE MIDDLE of a serious problem. The boxes were falling out and coming open and on the inside it felt like a machine gun firing.  I began, little by little and bit by bit, to have a come apart.

It wasn’t all at once like it was when my marriage ended. It wasn’t as obvious, and everyone thought it was just my health. As my body began to betray me, so did my feelings. I began to feel all of my feelings. The ones from right now and the ones from the past. Some days they came all at once. Some days they still do. I started having anxiety issues and the clinical depression that I inherited, but I’ve managed pretty well all of my life, reared it’s ugly head.

So what about that strong woman, a woman who believes in the healing power of Jesus, a woman of faith, (a minister no less,) who for no clear reason starts to have all of these problems? Bring on the shame! I stopped writing and I stopped preaching. I mean who wants to hear from a woman who seems to be falling apart at the seams?!

It’s ok to not be ok. We don’t have to apologize for it, we don’t have to defend it, and there is no timetable for it. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel our feelings, the closet will eventually get full and there is no storage building big enough to hold all of the boxes with pretty little bows.

If we ever want to do more than just survive, if we want to be whole, we have to get real with ourselves.  

Let me be clear, the lesson here is not that it’s ok to have a pity party. It’s not ok to belly up to the feelings bar and get drunk on them. It’s not ok to let our feelings boss us around and tell us what to do. It’s not ok to get stuck in THE MIDDLE.

The reason we have to allow ourselves to feel our feelings is, we have to admit that we have them in order to keep us from going around in circles. God gave us feelings for a reason. They are our inner thermometer. They indicate to us what is going on in our soul.

When I take my temperature, the thermometer gives me an indication as to what is going on with my body. I then make a decision, how to proceed. Do I need to go to bed and rest? Do I need to take some medicine? Do I need to get the help of a medical professional for a diagnosis or a prescription? Do I need to have some tests run or maybe even some surgery to fix something?

If I pretend I don’t have a fever and I am really sick, whatever is wrong doesn’t go away. It gets worse.  Not allowing ourselves to feel our feelings is much the same. Pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. Not treating the root cause of our emotions properly isn’t helpful, nor is not allowing ourselves time to recover.

Eventually not taking care of our bodies catches up with us, and so will not taking care of our souls. 

The world will continue to turn around in a circle if we allow ourselves to not be ok for a little while. Everyone may not understand. You may not even completely understand at first.

The Lord is teaching me that I don’t have to be sorry for my feelings; just honest, with myself and with Him. He is teaching me that there is no shame in taking some time to fully recover. He is teaching me that He will continue to take this journey with me until I’m whole, however long it takes.

When the war is over we need to stop using our survival skills, stop fighting and rebuild. Surviving is fine, and sometimes it’s the best we can do, but Jesus came that we might have life and that more abundantly!

5 Lessons I learned from my divorce

 

Take your soul temperature today. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. Ask the Lord for wisdom to know how to proceed. Get help from your pastor or someone you trust. Get some wise counsel if you need to.

If you have a virus of some kind in your soul, it’s ok. There is no shame. Just do whatever you need to do to get better. God will not only provide you with everything you need to recover, He will sit with you and care for you while you do. He will not leave you. He is crazy in love with you, for better or for worse!

Thank you for visiting The Land of Angela today. I pray you leave encouraged and better able to navigate THE MIDDLE of your situation. I am so honored when you click the share button and invite others to visit. This series has been our most popular so far!

Be sure to follow The Land of Angela on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so you stay updated. You can even subscribe so you get posts directly to your email.

Also, if you appreciate the work done here and would like to help keep us up and running click here to donate. Every little bit makes a difference. We are better together!

Visit again soon!

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.

 

 

 


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Learning to Be Gentle

 

Be GentleIf you asked someone to describe me, gentle is not one of the adjectives you would hear. I am a bit like that bull in a china shop people talk about.

God has sanded many of rough edges over the years, but I still find it hard not to force things.I have this urge inside of me to push things along. I don’t like to wait; especially for things I believe in and am passionate about, or things I think are inevitable.

I try to assist in bringing them to fruition.  That whole, “there is a time and a season for all things” is annoying. I want the time to be yesterday and the season to be now!

Wild flowers are my favorite.  At first glance a field of wildflowers looks like a mess. A bed of wildflowers looks like an unkempt garden.

If you keep watching however, when the time and season are just right, the mess turns into a rich tapestry of color and fragrance.

The true beauty of flowers comes when you don’t force them to bloom. Full, gorgeous blooms happen when the seeds get thrown in some dirt, and then you wait. The rain comes and the wind blows off some dead stuff, and you wait. Little buds appear and the sun gently feeds them, or a giving person comes along to nurture them. Finally, they open to reveal color and extraordinary beauty.

So it is with our lives. We have to be gentle. We have to get a little dirty and we have to wait. We have to endure the strong winds of life and let go of some dead weight (aka bad habits, toxic relationships, etc.) Then we wait a little longer. We have to allow ourselves to be cared for and nurtured, and then we wait some more. Finally we start to see the plans and purposes for our lives appear, little by little. We wait a bit more. Slowly and gently our lives open up and we see the fullness and beauty that blossoms from the process.

It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It matters what it is.

 

If we try to rush things, as I tend to do, we miss the warmth of the sunshine and the refreshing from the showers. We forget to appreciate how much easier our journey is without a lot of excess baggage to carry. We don’t stop to take in the calm after the storms. We don’t realize how much stronger we are getting, or how rewarding growth can be. When we force things, we miss the opportunity to build relationships with the ones who nurtured us along the way. More importantly, we don’t see the gardener who stood watch the entire time to make sure we didn’t get scorched or blown away.

I’m learning to be gentle with myself and with my life. Maybe even more importantly, I’m learning to be gentle with those I love. I’m trying to remember to rest in the knowledge that God will not leave me to get crushed under the weight of circumstances and situations. He won’t let the heat scorch me or the water overtake me. He won’t let me get blown away.  I’m learning to be at peace in the process.  It’s actually quite a relief to realize the outcome is not in my hands. I just have to take one step at a time. Even if everything looks like a mess, he will turn it all into a masterpiece.

The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.~Psalm 84:11 ESV

Just to be clear, walking uprightly doesn’t mean never making a mistake. The Hebrew word translated uprightly means complete and whole. It is His sacrifice that makes us whole. If we are walking with Him, this promise is for us. His grace is nothing short of miraculous and His love covers a multitude of transgressions.

My prayer for us today is that we will learn to be gentle. That we will trust God with the process of making a breathtaking garden out of what looks like a hot mess. I pray we will learn to move with the rhythm of the seasons and not force things before their time. May we enjoy the care of the gardener as we grow.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you leave encouraged! Please share with your friends and family and if you would like to support the work here in the Land of Angela click here to find out how.

Visit again soon,

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


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Christmas Can Seem Daunting!

If you are not done with your Christmas preparations, now would be a good time to panic! Christmas, and all of the tasks that go along with it, can seem huge and daunting! But wait!! That’s not what all of this is about. It’s about a God who wants to be with us so much that he came, quietly and humbly, in the flesh to do so. It’s the celebration of the gift of a savior, and in honor of His gift, the blessing of one another. We can make it about a bunch of other stuff and make ourselves miserable.

I’ve done it and I still have to make myself stay calm and not worry. I worry that my kids will be disappointed. I worry about the extra money I’ve spent. I worry I’m going to forget something or that my kids won’t have the same amount of gifts. Blah blah blah. When I get caught up in all that mess I miss the fun. I miss the moments to say thank you. I miss the making of memories and the time to enjoy people I love.

I’m about to turn 42 and I don’t want to miss anything else or take any more time for granted. Here are 5 things I am doing to stay calm….even on December 22nd!

Do one thing at a time-
I know….we are all superwoman and superman! Here’s a revelation: no we’re not and trying to be something we’re not is exhausting. It sucks the joy right out of our world.

Say Thank You-
Ok I’m grateful! This is not helpful. Just trust me. Take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for another Christmas. Thank you for the ham….yes the one that cost $27…I did not have to kill a pig for it! Thank you. It’s amazing what thank you does to calm the anxiety and change our focus.

Take a Bath-
A 15 minute soak relaxes me, helps my aches and pains, and helps me go another round! If I pray while I’m in there I get an even better boost.

Do something you like in THE MIDDLE of something you dread-
Go grab a bite with a friend in THE MIDDLE of running errands. I watch my favorite movies when I’m wrapping because wrapping is not my favorite thing. If Christmas shopping stresses you out, ask a friend to tag along so you can enjoy their company in THE MIDDLE of the hustle and bustle.

Ask for help-
I find a lot of joy in helping someone else. It is much harder for me to allow someone the same joy and let them help me. And actually ask for help? Only if my children are starving! I am learning, however, that trusting someone enough to ask for their help, or even just receiving from them something they want you to have, blesses them. Let people bless you. The way God cares for us is by using us to care for each other.

We can do this! It’s almost here! Let’s find joy in the little things. They really are the big things.

Thank you for visiting the Land of Angela today! Share with a frazzled friend or family member and be sure and subscribe so you don’t miss a post!

I hope you visit again soon.

Angela

 

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


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10 Books To Pack

10 Books to Take on Your Journey Through THE MIDDLE

A key to not getting stuck in THE MIDDLE is to learn as you go.

You are the same today as you will be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.~Unknown

Today I’m going to share my top 10 favorite books to help you move through THE MIDDLE. Even if you’re busy, a chapter a day of a great book that teaches you something new is a great daily practice. These books have changed the way I think and the way I live my life!

*This post contains affiliate links. You can buy these books at a lot of places, but if you buy them through these links (just click on the title) you will also be helping to support The Land of Angela. 🙂 I have read all of these, and all of the opinions are mine. These also make great gifts, if you are like me, and are not done with your Christmas Shopping!

My Top 10 Favorite Books to Pack For Your Journey

10. The Purpose Driven Life~John Maxwell 

I believe in living life on purpose. We sometimes get stuck on a “what is my purpose” carousel. We go around and around, waiting for some kind of huge revelation. I do believe we all have some specific things that are unique to us that we are here to do, but we find those things happens when we are living on purpose. We can’t wait to live until we figure out what they are. If we do we’ll miss a lot of living, and chances are, never figure it out. This book will get you off the carousel to a ride that’s a lot more exciting!

9. Fool-Proofing Your Life~Jan Silvious

Boundaries are our friends. and this book will teach you how and where to set them. I read this book in one day on the recommendation of a friend.  Jan Silvious opened my eyes to how I was contributing to the chaos in my world and how to stop. It takes a lot longer to travel when you are carrying everyone else’s unnecessary baggage. Compassion is good. Helping people is good. Being loyal in relationships is good. Allowing the foolishness of others to create strife and unrest in your life is not good! Fool-Proofing your Life should be on your required reading list. It is definitely on mine. I have recommended it and given it to many people who are stuck in THE MIDDLE of toxic relationships.

8. Love Does~Bob Goff

This is such a fun read! I enjoy hearing people’s stories and Love Does is full of them. Loving people involves doing, not just feeling. Loving people on purpose makes life more fun and takes the drudgery out of THE MIDDLE of your routine. Bob Goff is a lawyer and calls his job “fund raising!” He uses the money he makes to live out the exciting adventure of loving people. That’s just one of the paradigm shifts that happened as I turned the pages. By the time I finished I wanted to be more creative in the way I loved others, and I wanted to love on purpose more often. Want more joy in your journey? Learn how use your life to love people on purpose.

7. The Happiness Project~Gretchen Rubin

I said something once in public that I have never lived down,”Happiness is overrated.” I was making the point that people give up and complain using the excuse that they just aren’t ‘happy.’ No one ever seems to remember my point when they are giving me a hard time about my quote! 😉 Happiness is a feeling that’s fleeting, which is why I love this book. The author takes a year, and every month she does something that she thinks will make her life happier as a whole. I loved the concept and when I got into it I learned a lot. My favorite quote from the book is:

The days are long, but the years are short.

One of the truest statements I have ever heard. We have to learn how to be happy along the way because we spend most of our lives in THE MIDDLE of going from here to there. This is a great book to start your new year with!

6. Happier at Home~Gretchen Rubin

Another great book to start out the new year or to give as a gift. Happier at Home came out at the perfect time for me. I had just moved to our new house and was about to transition back to working from home. Our homes should be a happy, safe, place to rest and have fun with the people we love the most!  It is so interesting to hang out with Gretchen as she stands in THE MIDDLE of  her home and, instead of just going through the motions, she intentionally does little things to make it a happier place. I was sad when I got to the last page.

5. The Gifts of Imperfection~Brene Brown

We are generally harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. The Gifts of Imperfection is a treasure for you, or someone you know, who needs some sweet relief from getting beat up! It is so easy to beat yourself up in THE MIDDLE of tough times. My friend calls me perfectly imperfect and this book helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I found Brene Brown through her incredible Ted Talk on shame. It’s well worth taking 20 minutes to listen and the book is well worth the read.

4. Daring Greatly~Brene Brown

Having the courage to be vulnerable sounds like an oxymoron. Brene has done the research and does a great job and showing us how shame, vulnerability, and courage all affect our lives. Boundaries are good but walls keep people out and keep you in. It is risky to bring down the wall and see what happens. We will stay stuck in THE MIDDLE until we have the courage to risk the unknown. Daring greatly will tell you why it’s worth it! Loved this and the way it changed my thinking about vulnerability as a weakness, to considering it a strength.

3. The Circle Maker~Mark Batterson

I love a book that gets me stirred up! Mark is a pastor in Washington DC and has a very unique way of practicing prayer. After I read this I started praying differently, more specifically, and more often. I appreciate his transparency about the doubt and discouragement that sometimes come when we pray and it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. If you need a little turbo boost to propel you from THE MIDDLE of where you are now, to where you know you’re going, prayer is the cord that plugs us into the source of our power. Mark will motivate you to plug in like you never have before. The Circle Maker is another book that is on my required reading list for life!

2. The Shack~Paul Young

The Shack is the only fiction book on my list. That being said, Paul Young changed the way I think about God. It is a brilliant work that will challenge you and get under your skin. I have read it probably five times and I am sure I will read it again. My copy is beat up and falling apart. I should probably get it in a hard cover version. If you are in THE MIDDLE of a particularly difficult situation, you will relate to the main character of this book. You have probably asked all the same questions and may have even given up on ever finding the answers. I encourage you to take a time out and go to the Shack. You may find in this work of fiction some truth you’ve been looking for.

1. One Thousand Gifts~Ann Voskamp

I just finished this and I will never be the same. I’ve never read anything so beautifully written and so yet so real. I will forever be thankful for the gift of finding the book that taught me how to count gifts. In THE MIDDLE of any circumstance or situation, Ann Voskamp has taught me how to find the grace of God and be grateful.

Eucharisteo always proceeds the miracle~Ann Voskamp

My world looks totally different through the glasses of thanksgiving. I just thought I was a grateful person. I had no idea how many of God’s sweet gifts I was missing. This may be the best book I have ever read. If you just read one, it should be this one. Get one for yourself and at least one as a gift for someone else. Trust me, after you read it, you are going to want to share it with everyone you love.

 

**Bonus

I love to hold a book in my hand. I read with pen in hand and write and underline and that’s half the fun for me. I also love the convenience of my Kindle to take with me when I travel so I don’t have to pack heavy books, and so I can have what I want to read as quickly as I can download it! I was given a Kindle several years ago and I have never had to buys a new one.  It is still going strong! I also downloaded the app to my smart phone. It syncs with your Kindle, and then you have your books handy if you have a few unexpected minutes to read. If you have someone who loves to read on your gift list or you want to do something nice for yourself, I highly recommend a Kindle. I have enjoyed mine as much as any gift I’ve ever been given. Mine is the old one. Here is the link to the Kindle I would get now. There are lots of choices. 🙂

 

 

10 Books to Pack

Thank you for visiting the Land of Angela today. If you have read any of these I would love to hear what  your favorite parts were! I encourage you to make reading part of your every day journey and I hope some of my favorites will become yours. Give the gift of a little help along the way to the people that you love, and be sure and share this list with your family and friends! The Land of Angela newsletter will be done soon so don’t forget to subscribe!

Please visit again soon

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


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