Four Books I've Recently Read

And in January, we hibernate!

This has been our theme this month. We've made time to read, slow down and regroup at the start of the year. By day, we're getting after our goals and preparing for Kenya, but, we've filled our evenings with books, getting in bed early because it's middle-of-the-night-dark at 9:30 p.m. 

We recently got in bed at 9:15 so we could read a little longer and joked as we did that, if it were July, we'd be throwing the frisbee or sitting on the porch, the remnants of daylight hanging in the air. 

Oh, winter! 

book-recs

Here are four good books I wanted to share with y'all!:

1. Love Warrior: First of all, I liked this book significantly more than Carry On Warrior. I couldn't put it down. It's beautiful and raw and made me super uncomfortable at times. Although there are few things I don't necessarily agree with, I highly recommend it. Anyone who has been in a relationship or has struggled in life (AKA adult humans), should read it. She's honest and has a lot of insight about dealing with pain and the way we, as humans, numb. It felt like therapy each time I read it. 

2. Eleanor & Park: Confession: I am glutton for fiction. It takes discipline for me to read nonfiction. But novels? Yes, please! Murder mysteries? Give them to me! If you follow me on insta, you know that I already declared Eleanor & Park my favorite book of 2017. Too soon to say? Maybe. But mayyyybe not, because this book is a dream.

I'm a sucker for unique, witty writing and this book is full of it (it reads like John Green!). It is such a sweet story; I laughed, I cried, I couldn't wait to finish it, yet was so sad when it was over. I highly recommend it.

eleanor-and-park

3. The Power of a Praying Wife: OK so. This book is a little old school, if you will. For some, it will probably be too conservative regarding gender + marriage roles. I sometimes felt myself cringing at specific portions. However, what I liked about it is that it served as a reminder for me to pray for Chris and taught me how to do it well. It also softened my heart when I was frustrated and reminded me we are a team. I don't agree with everything she has to say, but I felt like it was a productive read. I used it like a devotional and appreciated that it helped me with actionable prayers + specific scripture around day-to-day topics. 

4. Iggie's House: My niece and I read this one together, which I loved because Judy Blume is the bomb and it felt like my childhood. Also, it was interesting to read about race relations in the late 60s, which sometimes feel like they have changed a lot and other times feel like nothing has changed much at all. It is a good read-with-a-kid (& discuss!) book. 

Next up? Reading The Girl on the Train obsessively right now. I'm also working on Boundaries and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, but, ya know, nonfiction. :) 

20-Something Entrepreneur: Danielle Ivy

This post is part of a series: Slow Cooking, 20-something Entrepreneurs, which I created to shed light on what it's like to start your own business in your 20s. Meet the other beauties here

I am so (SO) excited for you to meet this angel of an entrepreneur today: Danielle Ivy!

Danielle did my hair and makeup for our wedding and, first of all, she is super talented and made me feel so beautiful. But, the best part is how generous, kind and patient she is. I hired her to do my hair and makeup, but left my wedding wanting to be her friend. She's a gem! She's also only 22 and runs her own business, which is incredible. I wasn't nearly so wise or sure of my plan to run a business at her age.

I am thrilled to introduce you to sweet Danielle!

danielle-ivy

Let's start with an easy one. What is your morning routine? How do you get the day going? Do you snooze? Do you drink coffee?

I get the day going by hitting snooze maybe about 10 times. When I finally decide to drag myself out of bed, the first thing I always try to do is something my church calls the "first 15". This is 5 minutes of prayer, 5 minutes of scripture and 5 minutes of worship! It is super easy to do and a great way to start the day by putting the Lord very first. Most of the time I do this pretty spontaneously. It usually happens like this: I read the One Year Bible while I am still in bed. Then I get in the shower and pray while I am in there. And then I worship while I put make up on and most likely the whole car ride to work.

Oh and don't forget the coffee. I can't function without my coffee. 

You balance a super busy calendar with weddings every weekend. It seems like you have it all together when it comes to knowing what you want to do with your life. Has it always been that way?

I definitely have NOT always known what I was going to do with my life. It is actually comical to me that I am a MUAH artist now because I NEVER, I mean NEVER, wore make up in high school. I flat ironed my hair or wore it in a messy bun to school every day. I went to college thinking I would become a nurse…. and well, God had a WAY different plan for me! 

danielle-ivy-hair-makeup

If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself at 20? What do you wish you'd known? 

My 20th year was probably one of the hardest times of my life. This was when I decided to drop out of Alabama Nursing and go to cosmetology school (I'm sorry, what?! WHO am I!!!). It was not an easy transition and I was so focused on myself and getting my own life worked out that I abandoned the mission I knew the Lord set me out on.

With that being said, I would tell myself to wake up everyday and make a conscious effort to put God's agenda first. I, of course, thought I was doing that by going to cosmetology school. However, God's agenda is to SAVE the LOST and not to save myself. I would constantly remind myself to focus on serving other's needs FIRST and love love love and loveee some more on the girls I went to school with.  

What was the most influential book you've read in your 20s (so far)?

The most influential book I have read so far would be Love Does by Bob Goff. I AM OBSESSED with this book and could type up a storm telling you all about it. However, I will give you my biggest take away: every day, fill your life with your loves, passions, interests and HIM and you'll get His plan for YOU. 

danielle-ivy

What's the biggest misconception people may have about you from following you on social media?

Hmmm… this one is hard. I would say that the biggest misconception people have from my social media is that my life is perfect. That there is nothing wrong. However, I would make that statement about everyone on social media. People only post the best version of themselves. And that is OK, but we cannot live based on social media. I struggle. A lot. I have hard days. I have days when I do not want to get up or I am grumpy all day. But I have learned to keep on going and pushing through those hard times. 

For so many of us, our 20s can be one big comparison trap. How do you keep yourself from constant comparison? The internet makes it so hard! 

This kind of goes along with the last question. Social media and comparison are death traps for most girls. I don't care what age you are, we all struggle from time to time with comparison. I have learned that I have to limit how much I check all social media. I have learned that if I do not meet with Jesus and remind myself who HE says I am, that I will fall hard into that trap.

To keep myself from it, I do not allow myself to live on Instagram. I am actually currently fasting from all social media for 21 days of prayer. I want to get my heart back right with God, so I can keep my heart and mind in check. I firmly believe that we can control what we think about and how we think. However it takes discipline and it is a hard lesson to learn!

danielle-ivy

What do you consider play? And! What are your creative outlets?

My creative outlets and what I consider play would probably be the same thing: I love to do calligraphy and paint. Those are the things I do to have fun and relax on my day off.