Are you craving a simpler, more intentional family life this year? A longing in your soul to live from your values and priorities, rather than getting thrown back and forth by the constant demands on your time & energy? Me. Too.
What I love about books is that they have this amazing ability to inspire you to new possibilities…to give you a marvelous glimpse of another way of thinking or living…or both. When everything around you is overwhelming, a book can transport you to a new place, stir up fresh hope, and nourish your soul in a powerful way.
How Do I Find Time to Read?
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But as a busy mom, the thought of sinking into my cozy couch with a delicious, HOT cup of coffee and a good book feels like a distant dream when I have two little ones who need my constant attention. And honestly, after graduating from my masters program, I was so burned out on reading books that I all but vowed never to pick up another book again…at least not for a few years.
But that longing in my soul for something new and fresh keeps drawing me back. And then one glorious day, I discovered audiobooks.
I’m so not an auditory learner, but in this season of life, audiobooks are making it possible for me to read. And for that, I am SO grateful. If you haven’t tried audiobooks yet, DO IT!
Most libraries have programs like Hoopla, OverDrive and others that allow you to listen for FREE to tons of current and popular books on audio! All you need is a library card. Check it out!
If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, consider a subscription to audible.com! I’ve done both.
Don’t feel like, just because you can’t sit down to read a physical book, or that you don’t have more than short spurts that you can listen, that reading is not possible for you in this season. It is totally possible.
I plug my phone into my car and listen to 15-20 minutes at a time as I drive. Or I’ll turn it on while I’m doing the dishes or folding laundry or waiting for my toddler to fall asleep (thank you earbuds).
Even if you can only do 1 book a month, or 6 this year, opening your mind to fresh ideas will inspire, encourage and refresh you in 2019. These books will give you great tools to shape your family culture with intentionality!
Here are 9 books that will transform your life & family this year!
1. Mindset by Carol Dweck (Personal Growth & Family Culture)
This book has been literally transforming my life. As a longtime perfectionist who has struggled with the fear of failure, what others think, and not being able to do things JUST right, this book is messing with my worldview in the best kind of way.
Backed by lots of research, Dweck explores the concept of a “Fixed” vs. a “Growth” mindset and how it makes the difference between taking risk, learning and improving and staying stagnant in life. Despite what we often think, science is showing us that TALENT & INTELLIGENCE are NOT fixed traits!!
You can LEARN & GROW into new skills and talents and even boost your IQ. So if you’ve struggled with perfectionism or feeling like either you “have it” or you don’t when it comes to intelligence or talent, this book will change your life. It’s also a POWERFUL family culture shaper. It has changed the language and attitude of our home. We are now encouraging our kids to try things, to make mistakes, and to view mistakes as lessons, not failure.
2. Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk (Boundaries/Priorities)
If you want to know how to truly live out of your priorities, draw healthy boundaries, and step into a position of confidence in the relationships in your life, this is for you. I’ve already read it multiple times and get something fresh every time.
I recommend it to married couples and individuals all the time. It’s an easy and entertaining read and it’s PACKED with helpful tools to becoming more assertive and operating out of love, no matter what other people are saying or doing. It’s also very helpful as you shape your family culture and teach your kids how to stand up for themselves and not become a bully or a victim.
3. The Whole Brain Child by Siegel & Bryson (Parenting)
It’s easy to be an expert on parenting…until you actually have kids. Then you suddenly realize that you pretty much have no clue what you’re doing. This book helps you feel like you at least have a clue as to what’s going on when your child is overcome by emotion…at any age…and provides some really practical strategies for handling them in a way that brings peace to you both.
Not only did this book open my eyes to understanding my kids and their behavior in a powerful way, but it also gave me some really great insight into myself. It’s also got some great charts and even sample conversations to help you know how to respond to your children when they’re acting out or swept up in emotion. I highly recommend it!
4. The More of Less by Joshua Becker (Minimalism)
Our family has been on a slow but steady journey towards minimalism over the past several years and I can’t say enough about it. You think you have a lot of stuff…and then you have kids. It’s CRAZY how quickly we can accumulate stuff, whether you’re the one buying it or others are giving it to you. And I’ve recognized that the more “stuff” we have around us, the more stressed my whole family feels.
As we’ve been getting rid of things and really being intentional about what we own and why, it has brought so much peace to our family. Living clutter-free also sparks creativity, which is a huge value for our family! I love Joshua Becker’s take on minimalism, in that it’s not just about owning or not owning stuff, but it’s about living a life of gratitude.
Confession, I haven’t read his actual book, because I’ve read all the relevant articles that say the same thing on his blog: www.becomingminimalist.com. So if you want a book, check this one out. Or visit his blog for some quick tips and mind shifting conversations.
5. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (Personal Growth)
Shauna Niequist is seriously one of my favorite authors. Her writing is a raw, authentic, funny and revitalizing breath of fresh air. Written like a collection of short essays, this book is a quick and entertaining read that will shift your perspective on the need for perfection and invite you into a new way of living “presently” in the moment with yourself, God and your family.
By the way, if you haven’t read her book, Bread & Wine, it’s also golden.
6. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (Marriage & Family)
This one is pretty much a CLASSIC. If you haven’t read it, you’ve probably at least heard of the concept. But this book is the kind of book you need to come back to over and over again, as it holds a key to family relationships and marriage that we need every. single. day.
When you can truly grasp the importance of loving not just your spouse, but each of your kids in their own love language, it will revolutionize the culture of your home. So whether it’s new to you or not, take some time to check it out this year and set your family up for a strong connection of love.
Be sure to take the free quiz to see what your language is! Have your spouse and your kids (ages 8+) take it as well! https://www.5lovelanguages.com
7. The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler (Family Culture)
This book is all about intentionality in your family life. Feiler takes the concepts and intentionality he has seen proven to work in businesses around the world and applies it to your family.
From how to have a family meeting to the importance of routines and everything in between, it’s a great practical guide to building a strong family.
8. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (Finances)
Finances is one of the #1 causes of conflict in marriages and something that causes stress for SO many families. This is another timeless book that’s helpful to come back to again and again.
I love how Ramsey lays out a step-by-step plan for paying off debt, saving money, investing for the future, fulfilling your dreams and living a life of generosity. Part of building a healthy family culture is setting your family up for financial success and being able to leave a financial legacy and inheritance.
Wherever you’re at financially, this book has helpful and easy to grasp ideas to bring you to the next level. I also love that the principles in this book are easy enough for kids to understand! You can use it to teach your kids about being a good steward of their money as well.
9. Atomic Habits by James Clear (Personal Growth & Family Culture)
Habits. Are. Powerful. They are the everyday working out of the overarching values of your home and family. If something is important to you or your family, then it deserves a place in your daily habits.
If good health & caring for your body is one of your family values, then making it a daily habit is the best way to bring it in to action. If connecting as a family is a priority, then family dinners together might be a “habit” that shows this in your daily life.
Confession: I haven’t finished this book, but only just started it. I’m recommending it because Michael and I have been following James Clear’s blog: Jamesclear.com for a few years now and the principles he talks about our seriously life-changing.
As you think about this year and how you want to be intentional in shaping your family culture, consider picking up a book or snagging an audio copy and get some fresh inspiration!
What are you reading? I’d love to know!!