Posts in Books
The Unmaking of Plans & Gracious Uncertainty

"Our natural inclination is to be so precise — trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next — that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing...Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life — gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life...

To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring...

We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises...We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next...

Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in — but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him."

-Excerpts from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

The Gracious Uncertainty devotional reading quoted above was for April 29, a day I happened to begin a new season in my life. I didn't read it on that day, however. I only stumbled on it a few months later, marveling at how God has been working out gracious uncertainty in my own life and heart.

I have begun to live out the truths in this devotional more and more, stepping out in faith, uncertain of what could be next, and watching God fill my life with surprises (both large and small) that grow my faith and trust in Him.

I've been giving up control more and more, little by little, saying YES to His way and His plan over my own. Sometimes it's hard and scary. And sometimes I can be downright stubborn.

But with His grace, I am finding more and more joy and hope in the knowledge that I have no idea what's next in the plan.

And I'm becoming more certain that He always knows best.

 

What I've Been Reading Lately: 40 Days of Decrease, Breaking Busy, and The Bronte Plot

Hello, friends! I'm excited to share a few thoughts on some of my recent readings!

Spiritual disciplines do not transform, they only become relational opportunities to open the heart to the Spirit who transforms." - John H. Coe

40 Days of Decrease was such a thoughtful devotional for the Lenten season. Having read Alicia Britt Chole's other book Anonymous, I knew her writing would go deeper and would challenge my faith in good and meaningful ways. 40 Days of Decrease does just that. It's a book that pushes you to really throw off the hindrances and distractions of the world and focus on Jesus and the incredible sacrifices He made in love for us. I loved the reminder that the season of Lent isn't just about giving something up, but that it's about drawing near to God. "We thin our lives to thicken our communion with God." During my reading of the book, that meant thinning distractions (specifically shopping), but also thinning anything God called me to step away from. I loved the book's format of daily devotional reading, scripture passage for reflection, historical background, and room for notes. I definitely recommend this devotional for the season of Lent, but it's also a wonderful devotional for any time of the year that you want to refocus on Jesus.

5 stars

Breaking Busy is an easy, fun read, but ironically, when life got busy, I had trouble finishing it. The author has an approachable writing voice that's bright with warmth and humor, however, I think I may personally be in a season where reading "how-to" books just isn't the best fit. The last few I've picked up haven't held my attention the way they used to. This is no reflection on the book's quality or content, of course (there was a season of my life where I couldn't get enough of books like this), but recently, I find myself craving more in-depth storytelling, rather than quick, light reads. I will say that even though I would classify this as a quick read, there is some great content within its pages, especially for women who find themselves over-scheduled and overwhelmed. The reminder that we all need to edit our lives is a good one, and even moreso that we need to allow God to be the one guiding that editing work.

3.5 stars

I loved, loved, loved this book!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I shared that this photo is what my evenings have looked like lately — burning my @peripetihome Silver Linings candle (which is an inspiring and hope-filled blend of lemon, lavender, patchouli and other essential oils)... And getting lost in The Bronte Plot.

I think this book found me at the perfect time (so amazing when they do that, yes?!) and I love that the main character is about my age and still figuring out so much about her life (plus, she's single!). There's such hope and possibility between these pages, and for the main character Lucy, and I know I have the same hope and possibility in my own life, especially being in a bit of a season of transition right now myself.

One of my favorite passages was about the questioning times we often find ourselves in.

"That questioning time...All the books have it...that time when you don't know where you'll be, but you can't stay as you are..." - The Bronte Plot

I lingered over those words for quite some time, pondering my own questioning times (and the one I find myself in right now!). God continues to move me forward, and because I've given Him the control over my life's adventures, I suppose I often find myself in questioning times, wondering what's next. I've been learning how to turn those questions into curiosity and wonder, knowing that each time He moves me forward or takes me somewhere new, I am living out the very best possible version of my story.

I love the way we can find pieces of ourselves and our own stories in books and how the stories we read become a part of us as well. I definitely recommend The Bronte Plot! (I've already since read Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley and am currently more than halfway through her third book Lizzy & Jane. I'm going to be so sad when it's finished, and there aren't any more of her books to get lost in! :)

So there you have it!

Do you have any recommendations for me? :)

2016 In-Progress Reading List

I was reading Natalie's blog post about her 2016 reading list, and I loved that she paired books to read with each of her goals. I loved the idea so much, I decided to give it a try myself! The list below does not include some of the fiction books I hope to read, so I'll list those separately (on my reading Pinterest board for 2016).

Be open to God's plan for my life and live fully right where I am.

Prioritize prayer and choose God above all other things. Seek first the Kingdom.

Experience abundance through simplicity. 

Cultivate contentment, creativity, and community.

Use my creative gifts fully for God.

As you can see, I don't have many books for my last goal about creativity. Do you have any great recommendations? I would love to hear them! :)

What are you reading this year?

 

:: art ::  Paulina Reyes for Kate

What I've Been Reading Lately: Books for Seasons of Waiting

I'm going to start this post with a little bit of a confession...

I don't know about you all, but my reading life has suffered a bit in the last few years. We live in a culture addicted to distraction and go, go, go, and in recent years, I've found myself struggling to stick with a book.

It doesn't help that it's my nature to start lots of books at once (I just get so excited about each one!), but then in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, distraction seems to often win out, and a great number of those books end up half read and discarded, or worse yet, not read at all. Yikes!

 

In 2016, I'm working to slow down a bit and really be present with each book (and my life in general!). I want more open space in all areas of my life, and I want to put away my phone, keep the TV off, stay away from social media, and really connect more with the written word — a medium that has inspired, encouraged, and uplifted me since I was a little girl.

The stack above includes a mix of books I've finished, begun, and hope to start soon (I told you I haven't been able to ditch the "more than one at a time" habit just yet. ;) I also have a 2016 Reading Board on Pinterest, if you'd like to swap reading lists. :)

Today, I'd like to focus on a few books that have been encouraging me in my current season of waiting and hoping: Waiting Here for You by Louie Giglio and the In The Wait study by Heidi Anderson, Courtney Bobko, Holly Holt, Amanda Jass, and Chelsea Ritchie.

 

Waiting Here for You: An Advent Journey of Hope by Louie Giglio

I received this book through the BookLook Blogging program, and it has honestly been the best Advent devotional I have ever read! (I know Advent season has obviously passed, but I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of this for next year!)

Waiting Here for You is a collection of daily devotional readings that include a passage of scripture, a reflection, a meditation, and a prayer. Author Louie Giglio invites readers to discover that waiting is not wasted when you're waiting on the Lord.

This is a devotional that really encourages you to interact with its pages. I found myself making notes, highlighting sections, and writing out personal prayers amidst the pages. Each reading focused my heart on Jesus and the story of Advent, while also speaking to my own current season of waiting and encouraging me to cultivate a deeper hope and trust in the Lord as I continued to wait.

There were so many sections that I loved, but I was especially encouraged by the reminder that God is not only working throughout our seasons of waiting, but that He is also WITH US while we wait. And that even though our circumstances may say otherwise, God WILL come through for us, on time and on schedule, to fulfill His long-appointed plans for us.

As I read through this devotional throughout the Advent season, I felt The Lord impressing on my heart over and over that He is worth waiting for. That His plan for me is still in progress. That it's good. And that I haven't missed out on anything. I heard Him loud and clear that unless He is orchestrating it, it's not worth it — and I try and strive in vain.

He continues to remind me that He will make a way...through this moment, this day, this season, and into the next.
There are so many things I look forward to, and I am choosing to be convinced and confident of this: that when I'm following Him and waiting on Him, I won't miss out on anything, but instead, will find out just what a wonderful counselor, planner, and provider He is. This Advent study was reminder for me that He both PLANS and DOES incredibly miraculous things. ❤️

 

In The Wait

I am only finished with week one of this study, but I am loving it so far! It's a fresh breath of truth for my heart at the beginning of a brand new year. And similar to my experience reading Waiting Here for You, I have already marked up many of the pages with prayers and reflections and notes. I think a book that you can't resist marking up is the very best kind of book. :)

My favorite quote so far:

"The only certain thing we can wait for and expect is this: For God to lead and guide us."

I am learning to wait expectantly for His voice and His guidance, building a deeper trust that I truly am right where I am meant to be and that His plan for me is right on time.

 

::In the wait photo via Holly Holt::

 

Lost in a Book: My Currently Reading List
stackofbooks

I'm the kind of girl who likes to start many books at once, the kind of girl who wants to read ALL THE THINGS. (#ALLTHETHINGS)

But for a while, I was in a dry season of reading. I couldn't seem to find a book to get lost in. My heart may have just been too restless. Or, I might have needed a season of quiet in the midst of all the ideas and creating I was embracing.

Whatever the case, I settled into the quiet and focused on my own ideas and words.

Thankfully, I'm back to getting lost in books, delighting in inspiring words on the page and that incredible new book smell.

And because it's been a while since I've written a book post, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the books on my reading list this month.

  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon I bought Kleon's book Steal Like an Artist a few years ago and loved it. He has such a refreshing view on creativity and art making that I really appreciate. My Show Your Work copy was pre-orderd from the library, and I'm only a few pages in to chapter one, but I'm already wishing I had a copy of my own. The first chapter Find a Scenius is about creating in collaboration and community with others, and if you've read any of my goals for this year, you know how passionate I am about that and how important I believe it is for both our art and our relationships with others. :: I'm planning on making a cappuccino later this morning, and I think this is just the book I'll curl up with. ::
  • You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are and Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth Holley's words are always so encouraging and uplifting, and after reading and enjoying her book You're Made for a God-sized Dream, I decided to read her book You're Already Amazing. Lately, the idea of comparison has been on my heart (and it came up in our An Inspired Life Book Club conversations, too). I am interested in really doing my part in discouraging comparison and building community and collaboration instead among women and artists both online and locally. I thought Holley's book might speak to that a little and even help me to be a more confident creator for God.
  • The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin Raphael McManus I've only read a little of this book's intro,  because I'm saving it for a time I can really sit down and dive into it, but I LOVE what I've read so far. I'm going to borrow a quote from the book's description on Amazon, because I think it really sums up why I am drawn to this book. "There are no shortcuts to quality, and McManus celebrates the spiritual process that can help us discover our true selves." I love to view creativity as a deeply spiritual process, and I'm excited to read what McManus has to say about that process.
  • The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani The only fiction book on my currently reading list (I actually only like to read one book of fiction at a time). This is the third book in a series about shoemaker Valentine Roncalli. I have loved this trilogy about the passionate, creative, very determined Valentine. Each book combines her love for the artistic work she does, as well as how her creative pursuits are part of each of her relationships and the very person that she is. One of the quotes I loved best from the second book in the series was “I am my best self, the most alive I can be, when I’m creating..." In this third book perhaps what I have loved most are the pages that detail Valentine's creative process — from gathering her inspiration to dreaming up the designs for her beautiful artisan shoes. In a mass-produced world, I so appreciate the handmade and the people who are in love with their craft and the special art that they create (but that's a post for another time). :)

In looking at my list as a whole, it's probably pretty evident that my favorite things to read about are the same as my favorite things to write about — art, inspiration, creativity, and living fully as the men and women God created us to be.

What have you been reading lately? What kinds of books are your favorite to get lost in?

::photo edited with the A Beautiful Mess actions; review coming soon::

Calling All Dreamers - Guest Post by Heather Boersma

I'm excited to begin my Calling All Dreamers series with this post by the lovely and inspiring Heather Boersma. Many thanks to Heather for sharing her heart here! daringtoDREAM

From Dream to Reality: The Story of Publishing my first Book

I began writing my first devotional book in eighth grade. It was a time in life when I was totally alienated from my social circles, both at school and surprisingly, at church. My peer groups offered me nothing but rejection, and I was left with a choice; either feel sorry for myself, or use this time to really get to know the Jesus I’d decided to follow so many years before.

I chose Jesus. Each and every day, I sat on the floor beside my bed reading my bible and writing in my prayer journal. I went through dozens of devotional books and found the Word came alive in a way it never had before.  And as the Lord spoke to me, I felt led to share with others what He was revealing. So I began to write.

As the awkward Jr. High years passed and I gained new confidence in who God had created me to be, this passion only grew. Instead of being a reject, I became known as someone who was strong in their faith. People came to me for advice on matters of faith and with their prayer requests. I had been given a message and felt a burning passion to share it with the world.

More than 10 years later, my second attempt at the devotional book began.  An outline was created and the guts of it started to fill out that skeletal plan, bringing my dream to life. But several months after starting, my computer crashed taking all my hard work with it. Strike two.

So when the Lord began to nudge me in this direction for a third time, I’ll be honest, I hesitated. But after months of ignoring the multiple confirmations He sent my way, I relented and decided to obey. This is when the idea for “Dream Big” was born.

The next several months were spent researching, planning, and writing a book proposal.  In the summer of 2010, I began writing the book.  A year later, and just days before my child (a son!) was born, the first draft of my manuscript was completed.  Eight months after that, and two years from when I first said “yes” to God, a proof copy of my book came in the mail. What an amazing journey it has been!

Many people ask me about the process of writing a book, and here are the first 3 things I tell them:

  1. Write a book proposal. In the process of writing a proposal, you will be forced to define WHY you want to write a book. Is it purely for personal gain or do you really have something to offer your reader? If you can’t get through the process of writing a book proposal (and it is a lengthy process, when done correctly), there’s little chance you’ll actually have the stamina and passion to get through writing an entire book! I used the book “How to Write a Book Proposal” by Michael Larsen as my guide.
  1. Set aside blocks of time to write. The unfortunate news is less than 1% of book proposals that go across a publishers desk are accepted. This means you probably won’t have a publisher breathing down your neck to complete your manuscript by a certain deadline. This means you need to breathe down your own neck (hmmm, tricky) and be self-disciplined. So set aside a block of time each day, week, or month for writing. I wrote nearly one third of my book during a two-day writing retreat. I went to the cabin by myself and did nothing but eat, sleep, and write for two days straight. Figure out what works for your life, and then JUST DO IT!
  1. Pray for DIVINE INSPIRATION. This is the last step, but the MOST important of them all.  Here’s the thing — if you’re not writing empowered by the Holy Spirit and divine revelation from God, then what is the point? I’m sure we all want to write something that has eternal value. Something that will allow our readers to experience the Spirit of God ministering directly to their spirits.  In order for this to happen, we need to be diligent and faithful in our own relationship with God and continue to allow Him to speak to us and inspire our words.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you go on your own journey of writing, whether it be a book, an online course, or even a blog! I’d love to hear from you if you have any other questions about writing a book, or about my book “Dream Big: 30 Days to a Life Beyond All You could Ask or Imagine”.  Also, follow this link to watch the book trailer and get a little taste of who I am and what my book is all about!

In Him,

Heather

Connect with Heather // website // e-mail: heather@heatherboersma[dot]com // twitter // facebook

Happiness is...

 

...a cup of coffee and a good book.

I once read a book called Perfect Elizabeth, and while I forget most of the novel, I remember these lines:

"She trusts novels not life. In novels, things work out according to plan; in life the plot is entirely unmanageable."

(Confession: I had to Google the quote to discover that it was from the novel...)

But anyway, I remember loving those two sentences, because truthfully, sometimes I prefer getting lost in a book myself... ;-) Life can be so complicated, and it's fun to escape for a bit into someone else's life, knowing that by the last page, everything will be wrapped up, all nice and neat.

* * *

I have the itch to do some writing this weekend. Perhaps poetry, as I haven't written any in quite some time. We'll see where the muse takes me.

So, for now, I'm going to sit down with my caramel latte and my journal and do a little brainstorming—enjoy a little wordplay.

Hope you're warm and cozy today,

{ K }