Bookshelf Additions: Winter 2016

Has this been a busy season for you like it has for me?  With a family move added into our already busy schedule, I haven’t been carving out time for reading as much as I’d like.  But I did manage to get a couple of good books in during winter!



The Art of Work, Jeff Goins

Admittedly, this one was an audiobook, but I enjoyed it and I found some good insights to hold onto.  Here were some of my favorites:

“I used to think that your calling was about doing something good in this world. Now I understand it’s about becoming someone good—and letting that goodness impact the world around you.”

“Every calling is marked by a season of insignificance, a period when nothing seems to make sense. This is a time of wandering in the wilderness, when you feel alone and misunderstood. To the outsider, such a time looks like failure, as if you are grasping at air or simply wasting time. But the reality is this is the most important experience a person can have if they make the most of it.”

“Sometimes failure is the best thing that can happen to you if you learn to listen to the lessons in it.”

“Remember: your vocation is more of a magnum opus than a single masterpiece. It’s an entire body of work, not a single piece.”



The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu wrote this beautiful book on how to grant and receive forgiveness. Tutu was the chair of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission following apartheid in the 1990’s, and I had the privilege of hearing him speak at my graduation several years ago.   The need for forgiveness touches us all, and this book outlines the Fourfold Path to forgiveness as:

  1. Telling the story
  2. Naming the hurt
  3. Granting forgiveness
  4. Renewing or releasing the relationship

They dispel some of the common misunderstandings, and shares that


  • Is not Easy
  • Is not Weakness
  • Does not subvert justice (it creates space for justice to be enacted with a purity of purpose that does not include revenge)
  • Is not forgetting
  • Is not quick


“The response to hurt is universal.  Each of us will experience sadness, pain, anger, or shame, or a combination of any or all of these.  Now comes the moment of choice, although for most of us our reactions are so habitual we don’t even realize we have a choice. …The affront is so painful, so intolerable, that we cannot accept it, and instead of placing our hands on our hearts and weeping for what we have lost, we point our fingers or shake our fists at the one who has harmed us.  Instead of embracing our sadness, we stoke our anger.”

“When we cannot admit our own woundedness, we cannot see the other as a wounded person who has harmed us out of his or her own ignorance, pain, or brokenness.  We must reject our commonality.”

“When we can accept both our humanity and the perpetrator’s, we can write a new story, one in which we are no longer cast as a victim but as a survivor, even perhaps a hero.  In this new story, we are able to learn and grow from what has happened to us.  We may even be able to use our pain as an impulse to reduce the pain and suffering of others.  This is when we know we are healed.”

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”       – Lily Tomlin

“There are times when we truly did nothing, as when a stranger robs us, but even then we have a role in permitting or participating in a society where such desperation exists.  I do not say this to inspire guilt or apportion, blame, since no one person creates a society.  But each of us does have a role in the society we have created.  We can take responsibility for our part in a way that frees us from being a victim and allows us to open our hearts.  We are always at our best when compassion enables us to recognize the unique pressures and singular stories of the people on the other side of our conflicts.  This is true for any conflict, from a personal spat to an international dispute.”

“Marshall Duke [in his “Do You Know” scale] found out that the more children knew of their families’ history- the good, the bad, and the ugly- the more resilient the children turned out to be.   Dan Siegel explains that the best predictor of how well a child will be attached to his or her parents-  have positive, loving relationships- is whether the parents have a clear and coherent story about their lives and the traumas they have experienced.  In other words, if you are able to talk about your life and the joys and sorrows you have experienced – if you know your story- you are much more likely to be a skillful parent.”