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2018 Reading List

Last year, I made a reading list that was a bit too much to say the least. It was well-intentioned with some amazing books, but the scope of adding so many books to an initial list greatly hindered my reading. In light of that, I’ve created a 2018 Reading List with new parameters. I’ve chosen 10 areas of life that I want to grow in by reading something this year and picked just one book on that subject. It’s reading with an intentional twist.

My hope is that these are not the only books that I’ll be reading this year but the ones that I want to ensure I focus on getting all the way through this year. I’ll be reading other things along the way that I’d love to share with you. Follow along with my reading with the hashtag #karlenreads on instagram.

Intentional Reading on Prayer

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
For months, I’ve been reflecting on prayer. You can read a little more about that here along with a challenge that I’m doing this year centered around prayer. Priscilla Shirer is a woman on fire for God and regularly speaks on prayer. It only seems right to turn to her to learn more about this subject. This book has come long recommended to me, and I’m excited to finally jump in – especially because I have a friend diving in with me.

 Intentional Reading on Sabbath

Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller
Sabbath is something that I’ve always wrestled with. In November, God really started working with me in this area again at a conference I attended. In the midst of the conference, I texted my Accountability Group about sabbath and the session I had just been sitting in. One of the girls, immediately responded with a photo of a page from this book. She later talked about it as one of the things she’s reading and loving at our next hang out. She has absolutely loved what she’s learning and from the bit she’s told me, this needs to be on anyone’s list who currently isn’t taking a sabbath or struggles with even the thought of taking a sabbath.

Intentional Reading on Bible Study

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
I discovered Jen Wilkin last Fall when a friend of mine and I picked up one of her studies. We weren’t able to get far in it with other commitments that kept coming in our way of meeting, but it was evident that Jen has a knack for studying the Bible with an insight that I’ve never felt like I have had on my own. I was delighted to find this book where she writes how to study the Bible comprehensively with purpose, patience, perspective, process and prayer straight from scripture. I love the vast amount of resources we have to Bible Studies, but it won’t ever beat studying the scripture itself. I’m excited to dive in and see a new side to studying the word of God itself.

Intentional Reading on Simplicity

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
This girl has long been the source for me trying to intentionally simplify my life. I love her stance on clearing the clutter, embracing daily life and making rhythms that work for you. Her newest book walks you through 10 key areas of life to try to revolutionize that area to be intentional, simple and practical for your own life with examples from how she’s worked it into her own life. The journey to living a simple life is not an easy one, and I’m so thankful for the work of those who have gone before me in this area. Here’s to creating rhythms that work for me this year!

Intentional Reading on Marriage

You And Me Forever by Francis + Lisa Chan
I got this book when Rick and I were dating. Honestly, I’ve never opened it. There was something about it that I guess didn’t jive with me immediately. I heard Francis and Lisa Chan talk about their marriage at a conference session I attended last fall. After listening to the way they talked about God and about their own marriage, it spiked my interest to look into reading this again. Since it’s a marriage book, Rick and I will be reading it together.

Intentional Reading on Relationships

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Full disclosure, I’ve read half of this book and watched the videos. Why in the world would it wind up on my list? I want to actually read this and invest time in it. I have the workbook that goes along with it. I’m ready to explore it more, especially as it relates to my life and not just as something I read, resonated with and forgot about a few years ago, but as something I’ve read, resonated with and applied to my life.

Intentional Reading on Photography

The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography from National Geographic
This is the only read that I’ve got a deadline on. I’ve got to return the book to its owner when she comes to visit in April. Y’all, sharing books across states is so hard! I’m excited for the deadline though because it will help me with the discipline I need to read this and read it quickly. I love the fact that this guide covers a bit of photography history along with practical tips to grow in my craft. One thing that I’m looking forward to is seeing how they recommend to organize photos in my continual quest to declutter and simplify my life.

Intentional Reading on Blogging

Blog, Inc by Joy Cho

Joy Cho is a whimsical, colorful blogger. Her book graces a ton of ‘must-read blogging book’ lists, so it piqued my interest. The other thing is that it’s a blogger that I recognize. She’s got the cutest stuff featured at Target, plus her signature style is both fun and inviting. I wanted to get more intentional about blogging this year, so this seems like the perfect place to turn for a first read on blogging. Plus, it’s at my local library. Score!

Intentional Reading on Speaking

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley

If you haven’t listened to some of Andy Stanley’s sermons, you should go listen. He has an amazing way of communicating the gospel. I’ve read a good portion of this before, but I gave my book away in the middle of reading and never got back to it. I want to finish reading it and see how I can be communicating more effectively. From what I remember, the book was set up in a very unique way of going about the subject starting with a story and then breaking down communication tips.

Intentional Reading on Youth Ministry

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields

Most people are surprised to find out that I haven’t read this book. I’ve read Doug Fields work in several different ways throughout the years, but I’ve never read this book. It’s a cult-favorite of youth ministers everywhere. I figured now is the time to pick it up and read through. From thumbing through it, it covers a multitude of subjects covering both the ministry as well as how to continue to lead well throughout your ministry.

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