What I Read: Catching Up With the Quarterly Review

July: 

KK Heels

 

“Balancing in Heels” by Kristin Cavallari

As you can tell with a quick glance, July was a much needed “brain-break.”  Coming off of Bishop Barron’s “Catholicism” book (highly recommend), I just wanted something light and easy to read.  I was perusing books at the library when I came across Kristin’s book.  I hate to admit it, but I probably saw every episode of Laguna Beach, and even though I skipped most of the Hills, I came back to it when I found out Kristin was going to be back on the show.

I don’t know what it is about her, but I think she is pretty fascinating!  I always preferred her over Lauren–I thought at least she has moxie! I really like her because, aside from being insanely pretty, she’s built a family lifestyle so different from the character she portrayed on TV for so long.  Though my life is nothing like hers, and though I know I won’t be adopting any of her crunchy ways, I actually really enjoyed reading her book and all about her life as a working, stay-at-home mother.  She fancy.

There were a couple of other books I tried reading that were similar to this one (like “Pretty Happy,” by Kate Hudson, and “The Honest Life,” by Jessica Alba) and I hated them both.  I liked that Kristin could own who she was on Laguna and the Hills, and that she was honest about all that she learned along the way.

organized home

 

“Organized Siplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider

I heard about “Organized Simplicity” from the Kate Whitaker (my insta-catholic-mom-rolemodel).  She did a whole series about her ten-day organizing/home-cleaning extravaganza  on instagram and I went scrambling get my hands on this book per her recommendation.

Though I didn’t fully follow the  ten-day organizing/cleaning schedule to a tee, I used the book as a framework to organize, simplify, and bring purpose into our home and how we live.  Following the program was a bit tedious, but I’ll tell ya, when it was all said and done, my house had never been so clean!  I am honestly still reaping the benefits from all the work I did back in July, “y’all!” (That’s what Kate would say 🙂 .)

About a year ago, I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  I found a lot of similarities between this book and Kondo’s book, so much so that I couldn’t help wondering who inspired whom.  “Organized Simplicity” is pretty much the kon-mari method for Catholics (i.e. less talking to your stuff, and more prayerful and intentional purging).  I definitely preferred it over Marie Kondo’s book.

I loved it and will be pulling it out at least twice a year from now on!

 August: 

seeds of contemplation

 

“Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton

I picked up this book because I loved Thomas Merton’s “Seven Story Mountain” and wanted to read more from him.  “Seeds of Contemplation” was an absolute joy to read.  It was thought-provoking and inspiring.  I found myself putting the book down several times so that I could let his words simmer in my mind and heart.

I won’t even try to sum this one up, because in all honesty I’m still chewing on the fruits of Thomas’ wisdom, but I definitely recommend it!

 

 

 

endurance

 

“Endurance” by Alfred Lansing

In my opinion. the title of this book doesn’t just allude to the character of each of the men aboard Ernest Shackleton’s ship, but also alludes to the character you will develop if you make it through the whole story!

Not that it’s a bad story–it’s great, in fact!–but it definitely is hard to read.  It was difficult to comprehend the sheer power and resolve to survive in the harshest of conditions.  Putting myself in their freezing cold, wet shoes seemed nearly impossible at times!

What I loved about this book was learning more about the human capacity to accomplish incredible things, and the inspiration some people have to go beyond what seems possible to chart new territory.  What was most amazing to me about this story was how it revealed that when it comes down to it, sometimes the greatest thing there is, is purely the resolve to survive under the most intense pressure and harshest of conditions.

I loved this book.  Great read!

September:

story of a soul

 

“The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux

Reading the words of a saint is always humbling and inspiring, to say the least.  For me, though, “The Story of a Soul” was next level good.

As I read St. Therese’s story, I found myself saying over and over again, Wow.  If only I had a heart like hers.

One of the wonderful things about her example, though, is that we all are capable of having a heart like hers.  St. Therese teaches us that, no matter our differences or particular gifts, all of us are made to glorify God with our lives. 

That’s it.  That’s our purpose.  We should go about every moment of our day, and in every little way we can, making decisions for the love of our Lord.

Though her way was little, her life was a masterpiece.

a grief observed

 

“A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis

Not much thought went into picking up this book other than that I knew I would love it because it was written by C.S. Lewis.

I did love it–but it definitely surprised me.  The rawness with which C.S. Lewis wrote was so revealing.  Lewis brings the reader intimately into the grief he experienced losing his wife.  It was a grief so strong that it made him question even the most fundamental elements of his faith: If God can allow me to experience such suffering, what kind of God is he? 

It’s a question that most people wrestle with at some point in life, and I feel like C.S. Lewis does a beautiful job rounding out his pain and grief with his understanding of love, life, suffering, and who God is.

Have you read any of these books?  Thoughts?  What are you reading or what have you read lately that you found inspiring?   

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