If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen some posts lately about books I LOVE. They include Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit by Whitney R. Simpson and Sacred Ordinary Days: Liturgical Planner. I want to share them with you, because I think they could be tools for you on your journey through life.
(Amazon links are affiliate links which means I would make a small profit off of your purchase. Thanks for supporting me!)
Where can I start? Well, first I need to admit, I was a skeptic. The author, Whitney R. Simpson, is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild with me and I joined her book launch group mostly to support her as she launched her work into the world. However, God was doing a bigger work in me and when her book arrived on my doorstep it felt like a gracious gift from my Heavenly Father.
Holy Listening is a devotional containing elements I already enjoyed and practiced in different ways throughout my days. Each reading is over a simple two pages and include Lectio Divina, two yoga poses, a breath prayer, aromatherapy, and journal prompts. Whitney does an excellent job in the introduction explaining each of these elements and how to use them in our spiritual practice.
There are moments when, though I know words were written long before my circumstances and the circumstances of the writer were very different than mine, it feels like just a coincidence that they came across my path at the right moment. This is the movement of the Holy Spirit. Speaking to us individually and collectively at the same time. This week is busy. Full of details. Plans. People. And it's good. But sometimes it feels like so much rides on my shoulders and I don't know if I can or will pull it off. Then whispers from the Spirit come along and say, "I've got you." Breath Prayer: Inhale: Wise One Exhale: you prepare the way A blog post for how this book has been transformative for me is coming soon. I triple recommend it. Thank you @whitrsimpson for recording these words. . . . #holylistening #holyyoga #lectiodivina #breathprayer #prayer #bibleverse #meditation #scripture #ordinarytime #christianblogger
We have so efficiently divided ourselves into categories. Our physical health. Our mental health. Our spiritual health. Through the practices of meditating on Scripture, intentionally breathing prayers, and physically experiencing humility before God through yoga stretches and aromas, I have found myself opening up to God’s presence in new and profound ways.
Yoga – or “holy yoga” as it’s often called – has been a gift to me as I learn to rest in God in my heart, mind, soul, and strength. As for aromatherapy, I do not have a wide variety of essential oils, but the 3 I do have have been plenty for prompting me in worship. Using Holy Listening at night before bed has given me greater peace and more restful sleep.
I highly recommend Holy Listening to anyone looking for a new way to open themselves up to God.
I’m about 99% sure that Whitney R. Simpson recommended this planner to us Redbuds last year and it has not only helped me keep God first, but keeps me focused on the work I have to do each day.
I became interested in the liturgical year before Jack was born, but have not been able to pursue it because children. And life. However the desire to live my life within the flow of the Christian holy days did not go away. So when I first heard about Sacred Ordinary Days, I purchased my first copy. Well, actually, I purchased a sample pdf, because all of the planners were sold out!
The beautiful bound copy was first on my Christmas list this year. My mom got it for me. She also gave me a matching blanket. <3
This is more than a planner. More than a devotional. More than a gray picture. This is a way of life. Outlining my days not merely with my to do list, but with God's guidance, prompts to rest, rewards, and a whole lot of encouragement. I can't recommend it enough. #bestchristmasgiftsever @sacredordinarydays #ilovegray
This planner contains so many elements. Daily scripture readings, a task list, prompts to reward yourself after completing a task, a place to write your daily schedule, weekly examen prompts, extra space for doodling or journaling, and on and on.
For me, the most helpful parts have been 1) telling me which part of the Bible to read on any given day (isn’t that the hardest part when sitting down with Scripture? Where do you start?) 2) Teaching me to limit the number of tasks I give myself to 3 – because I will have a to-do list as long as the wall if you let me. 3) Prompting me to rest or reward myself after completing each task (which is honestly the hardest thing for me, but I LOVE that it is included. That rest is valued.)
I use my planner at the beginning of the day. It helps me remain focused on God first before jumping into work. Because I will jump straight into work. And struggle to get it done, because I wasn’t purposeful about it. I didn’t set my intent for the day before beginning it. Sacred Ordinary Days has been an essential tool for me this past year and I am loving it in 2017 as well.
My One Word for 2017
These books have been my guides for over a month now as I try to approach this year with intention. Intention is the word that keeps coming to my mind when I consider 2017.
This word is accompanied by so many questions: What do I want to do? What do I want to experience this year? How will my actions and choices help me accomplish these things? How can I intentionally approach my day to be sure that I do what I say I will do? And how can I get it done while continuing to take care of myself?
I have so many dreams. So many wishes and goals. But they have tended to only remain wishes and goals as day after day goes by without progress made towards them being a reality. 2017 is about seeing some of them come to fruition.
I can’t wait to share them with you.
What about you? What books do you love? How do you get through your days?