It’s time to be brave… Thanks, Annie

I just finished reading Let’s All Be Brave by one my my favorite Christian author/speakers, Annie F. Downs. (It was on my 2015 Book List & you should definitely add it to yours!)

Be brave

Wow. Talk about a book that was encouraging and convicting all at once!

I was so encouraged by Annie’s personal memoirs and stories that assured me that I’m not alone in my cowardice. (I think it might be a human trait or something… I dunno.) But I was also deeply convicted to do something about my wimpy tendencies and begin living a life that is purposefully and confidently brave for my God.

Over and over as I was reading I had the thought “Well duh! Because you’re not here for YOU anyway, Ginger. You’re here to follow Him and serve others where he leads… Come on!” And that repeated conversation (with myself) lit a fire within me by the end of the book.

So how can I be brave? Well… I’m not sure yet. There’s probably many many many areas in which I could use a little bravery. But for today, I’m going to do something scary. (I’m not sure why it’s scary. Maybe it makes my 2015 project more real? Maybe because I’m afraid I’m not good enough/ talented enough? Or because I told myself I would tell no one and now I’m telling you? Or that I can’t handle the commitment? Or that my idea is silly???) But here it goes…

Courage

As you know, I’ve been doodling a lot (every day so far this year to be exact). But I’m not doing it for views or likes or whatever social media uses as “success” markers. I want to use words to encourage people, speak life into other peoples’ lives, and maybe even inspire someone (just one little person) to think in a way they haven’t before. So I’m taking the “A Years of Words” project to Instagram (@ayearofwords) in hopes that I can do those things. Again, don’t know why this is scary for me… I think because there is potential to reach no one… And that’ll be okay too.

So here’s to being brave (fingers crossed), and thanks Annie, for writing a book that makes me want to push my comfort zone out the window.

#75 – Pick a famous woman that is admirable and read her biography (Yes, Please)

When I made up this goal almost 3 years ago, I did not think I would choose the biography (really, autobiography… memoir… whatever) of Amy Poehler.

Funny? Yes. Entertaining? Definitely. Admirable? I wasn’t so sure.

But after reading Yes, Please, I feel like I couldn’t have chosen a better lady to spend time getting to know through her own stories and hilarious anecdotes. Was some of it raunchy? Yes. Did I cringe at the awkwardness of some of her real-life encounters? Of course. But I also came to see that Amy is just a gal. A gal who loves comedy and making people smile and has a really good perspective on not taking herself too seriously.

My favorite quote for the book said this:

Yes Please

Amy mentioned that it should be every girl’s mantra, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to look at all the great things other gals are doing and become envious of what they have or get judgmental because it’s not a part of your plan… But it shouldn’t matter! I want to live with an attitude that is genuinely excited for the women around me and the exciting things happening in their lives while still staying true to my dreams and desires.

Good for her, not for me. So simple. So meaningful.

I had a lot of fun reading Yes, Please. (Woohoo! It was my first book off of my 2015 Book List!) Plenty of funny things to keep me entertained. What woman’s memoir/ autobiography/ biography would you like to read?

Love DOES

I felt the need to put the latter half of the title in ALL CAPS because I feel like that’s what Bob Goff would want me to do. Y’all… This book.

I’ve had it on my “to-read” list for while now. Somehow it didn’t make it onto my 2015 Book List (so consider it a bonus), but I’m really glad that The Bookshelf had one little copy with my name on it over Christmas. And I’m even more glad that it became my first book of the year.

I think it set a good tone.

Love Does isn’t a how-to book on love. It isn’t about romance (although, it kinda is… something we might call a Divine Romance), and it isn’t just for couples. It is a compilation of tales of the incredible life of Bob Goff (a guy I really super-duper want to meet now) and how God has totally shaped Bob’s life so that he can explain in completely human terms how BIG and REAL and UNWAVERING God’s love is. (Again, ALL CAPS because I feel like it kinda needs to be shouted.)

My favorite part of this book is that Bob’s crazy stories serve as beautiful metaphors for how God loves us.

The story of his children meeting with world leaders just to chat reminds us that God uses ordinary people to do big things. Wrecking his jeep? A reminder that big lessons can come from unlikely teachers. His kids ruining a piece of fine art? A reminder that when we’re authentic, we’re going to get hit with stuff… and that God will protect us, and love us, and teach us in the midst of it.

His 31 chapters each have a “tag line” that serves to summarize the aspect of God’s love that he has highlighted. I’m thinking I might have to doodle them all… But for now…

Just Say Yes

Simply say “yes”, and God will use you… Maybe my favorite of the messages in Bob’s book.

My 2015 Book List

A new year is quickly approaching, and there’s so much I want to learn!! Check out these 20 books that I’m hoping to gain a little something from in the upcoming year!

The Encouraging Ones:

  • Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
  • Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott
  • Longing for More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life by Timothy Willard
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

The Mysterious Ones:

  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

The Giggly Ones:

  • Yes, Please by Amy Pohler
  • Neil Patrick Harris: Choose your own autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
  • The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
  • Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

The Action-Packed Ones:

  • The Heist by Daniel Silva
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Creative Ones:

  • The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne
  • The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
  • Just My Type by Simon Garfield
  • Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
  • The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the US & Canada (edited by Barbara Ireland)

What do you think?? Any more titles that I should add to my list? See any on my list that you’d like to add to yours? I’m super excited to get my hands on the first one and begin this journey. If I want to read them all this year, I’m going to need to get started right away! Happy reading!