3BoT Vol. 6: Three Books That Literally Changed My Life
Wednesday, February 29, 2012Tweet
The first Thursday of every month, I share three related book recommendations with you. You are invited to link up at the end of the post with three recommendations of your own! Click here for more info about Three Books on Thursday.
I am guilty of using hyperbole on occasion, and there have probably been quite a lot of books that I've claimed have changed my life. Usually I mean they changed my way of thinking about something, which is great, but then 5-10 years down the road I will have forgotten all about it and need to re-learn whatever lesson it was I learned.
So this month I thought I would share books that have literally changed my life -- that is, I can point to things that I do in my life and tell you which book made it happen.
Unsurprisingly, if you've been around Faith Permeating Life for any length of time, you've probably heard me talk about at least one if not all of these books. But maybe this will give you a needed kick in the butt to check them out if you haven't already.
Here are the books that sparked real change in my life:
In case you're not familiar with Barbara Kingsolver, I highly recommend her other books; my favorites are The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible. While those are fiction, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a true story of her family's attempt to eat only locally grown food (mostly their own) for an entire year. Her vivid storytelling is intermixed with informational sidebars written by her husband, and each chapter ends with recipes by her older daughter. I documented the process I went through while reading this book: first, I made excuses about why eating locally was too hard, then I committed to taking some small, manageable steps, and finally I found myself eating vegetarian except for our CSA meat. The book doesn't shove anything down your throat, but it does present a compelling case for why we should be mindful of where our food comes from, and it makes the steps to get there seem not too far out of reach.
(I told you these might be obvious.) I picked the perfect time to read The Happiness Project: early December 2010. This meant that rather than thinking, "Hey, I should do a project like this some day..." I thought, "Hey, it's almost January, let's do this for 2011!" I loved Gretchen's approach, which was to pick some guiding principles ("happiness commandments"), then focus on one area of her life each month and create specific resolutions in those areas. This format gave me enough structure that I was able to implement it for myself easily, with enough flexibility that I could focus on what was most important to me. If you want to read all my monthly recaps you can check out the "happiness project" tag, or you could just read my end-of-the-year reflections. You can also check out Gretchen's blog, although I will say that I had been reading the blog for a while when I decided to read the book, and it was the book with its clear structure and timeline that gave me the kick to actually do a project myself. Everything from the fact that I floss every single night to my now-ingrained habit of constantly hitting ⌘+S (Save) while I'm working can be attributed to last year's happiness project. It gave me less guilt and more peace of mind and helped me get my life priorities in order.
Here's a first for 3BoT: I haven't actually read this entire book. The Couple to Couple League and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything, and there's a lot of information on Catholic teaching and the "right" way to do Natural Family Planning throughout this book. That said, this book still had a profound impact on me, and I continue to use it as a reference guide. When Mike and I first decided we were going to do Natural Family Planning, before we were even engaged, I read some other book -- something like Your Fertility Signs -- that introduced me to fertility awareness but also made me super-confused. Like, I charted faithfully for about two years, but I couldn't have told you what any of it actually meant. The Art of Natural Family Planning, on the other hand, is super clear. They have a straightforward charting method (which I replicated using Excel because I didn't want to buy their charts -- sorry!) and there are tons of sample charts in the book as well as actual photographs of stretching cervical fluid. Getting this book a few months before our wedding was a Godsend for me and the reason we've been able to use NFP without any stress or guessing for the past two and a half years. (Click here if you want to know more about Natural Family Planning.) If you're looking for something a little less... Catholic? opinionated? I've also heard good things about Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
What books have changed your life? Leave them in comments or share on your blog and link up below!
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