“I absolutely LOVE to read!”

Heather Penny, Ph.D.

For those of you who know my allegory of The Bracelet – reading is my tire swing.  And I like all types of genres.  So, throughout the seasons, I’ll share some of my favorites and how they are influencing my life.  May you be encouraged, intrigued and inspired!

For the Journey . . .

The Beautiful No
by Sheri Salata

Sheri Salata was the Executive Producer for the Oprah show and recently resigned to follow her heart.  I loved the easy flow of the book and felt like I had made a new friend by the end of it.  Her bravery to resign from a dream job to address things she had buried for too long was inspirational. 
I laughed with her as she shared her fierce vigor to find the perfect exercise plan that eventually backfired—badly.  And mourned with her as she shared deep loss and fears of being unloved.  She graciously pulls back the curtain of her life to show us all the ups and downs that got her to where she is today, and highlights that there’s still so much more she hopes for. 
A post-it on her desk with these words inspired her to change her course: 

I laughed with her as she shared her fierce vigor to find the perfect exercise plan that eventually backfired—badly.  And mourned with her as she shared deep loss and fears of being unloved.  She graciously pulls back the curtain of her life to show us all the ups and downs that got her to where she is today, and highlights that there’s still so much more she hopes for. 
A post-it on her desk with these words inspired her to change her course: 

Thursday morning. One hundred pounds overweight, no man in sight, and rounding the bend to fifty-seven years old—a full-blown catastrophe.” 

Thank you for your transparency, Sheri.

These passages give you an idea of the life story she is writing and how she is showing up for the next chapter: 

“Movement is a privilege, a joy, even a kind of miracle.  And our bodies are not obstacles to be overcome, or external objects to be whipped into shape.  Our bodies are the vessels for our dreams.” p.88

“When you commune with people who are fellow uplifters, that feels good.  When you create your own atmosphere of appreciation and wonder, that feels good.  When you do what you love with people you love, that feels really good.  And when you feel really good, good things happen again and again and again.  When happiness is your compass, misery becomes impossible.” p.125

Cheering you on, Sheri!

For the Spirit . . .

Life Without Lack
by Dallas Willard

This book is based on a series of talks Dallas gave and was published posthumously by his daughter and friend.  I like reading this early in the morning with a lit candle and a hot cup of tea.  I find it a soothing and gentle way to face my day.  Based on Psalm 23, Dallas shares the fullness this way of life offers.  I find myself lingering over passages to let it sink in and impact my spirit before I step out and engage with life.  Willard’s words center me and ground me. 

I like his emphasis on relating to God as we are uniquely made: 

“If you want to have a deeper, more trusting faith, seek God and be prepared to go with him.  He will bring you into a faith of sufficiency as he reveals himself uniquely to you.”  p. 117

And . . .

“We have accepted an image the world has imposed on us that is in direct opposition to Jesus’ teaching and hinders us from stepping into the dignity of the sons and daughters of God.  Every human being is a special creation of spirit, living in the hands of God.”  p. 54

Much gratitude to Rebecca (daughter) and Larry (friend) for taking the time to put his words on paper and ensuring that it was shared with the rest of us. 

For the Heart . . .

The Love Code
By Alexander Loyd, Ph.D., ND

This book kinda blew my brain. It came at a perfect time in my life where it answered questions I was asking—and some I didn’t have the clarity yet to ask.  Loyd aligns science and spirituality as he grounds his research and therapeutic practices in LOVE.  Both beautifully simple and challenging complex, I was pushed to not only see the wholistic power of Love but to apply daily practices that allowed me to grow the presence of Love in my life.  I know I am way over-using this word, but I LOVED this book!  My copy is marked up with dog-eared pages and coffee stains.  I took it to Maui with me as I tried out the daily practices.  If you have the space to try out new ways of self-care and want to be more mindful about how you love both your Self and others, this book will fit the bill.  It was grounded in research and also inspiring and it rooted me in the most powerful energy available to all of us— LOVE.  My only caution is to ‘take this book on’ when you have space to chew on it and really try out some of the tools.  It was a perfect book for my one-month sabbatical. 

Here’s a small taste:

“What I found was that when people said affirmations that they did not believe, their stress level spiked…So, in reality, they were trying to solve their stress problem with something that was causing more stress.  …The important point is whether the statements meet all three criteria—they are based in love, are based in truth, and are believed.” p. 78-79

See what I mean?  Simple yet complex.  The goal is not just knowing it, but learning how to live it out.  Thanks, Alexandar for linking science and spirituality in LOVE. 

What the world needs now is love sweet love…

For the Story…

The Story of With – A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create
By Allen Arnold

If you like stories like I do that depict deeper wisdom and inspiring truths, then this is your book.  Allen shares the journey of a young girl, Mia who is given specific gifts to take on her journey.  I enjoyed the ease of a storyline and how he depicts the needed courage we each require to face our own unique paths in front of us.  But we are never alone and never without.  I found myself missing the book several days after I finished it as it lingered in my soul. 

Thank you, Allen, for the hope you offer in encouraging us to live more creatively. 

For Pure Enjoyment . . .

Of Mess and Moxie – Wrangling Delight out of the Wild and Glorious Life
By Jen Hatmaker

Good grief, Jen had me laughing out loud!  What a force she offers to this world.  From her hilarious stories in raising 6 kids to including recipes to make our lives easier; you feel both the joy and struggle of womanhood.  I found myself grateful for her voice as I realize it can be sooo easy to take ourselves waaay too seriously.  Thank you, Jen, for your authentic voice as you cheer each person on to be easy on themselves and take delight in the life we are each living. 

I’d love to hear from you as you read them. Share your favorite quotes or let me know what you’re thinking. Happy reading!