Books are one of the best ways to get encouragement as a small business owner. There’s just something about reading stories and lessons of those that have gone before you. Oftentimes, creatives are one-man operations, so we don’t have typical co-workers to bounce ideas off of. Illuminate is doing it’s best to cultivate community in an industry that struggles with loneliness and comparison. We gathered a list of some of our favorite books that I’m so excited to share with you! You’ll find links to all of the books on Amazon, as well as the descriptions of each book. I hope you find one that you love!
You were created for a purpose, and it’s time to make it happen.
Your time has come to take a leap of faith. Join me as we surrender our fears, end the chase for perfection, and say yes to cultivating the meaningful lives God desires for us.
I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.
As a busy wife, new mother, business owner, and designer, Emily Ley came to a point when she suddenly realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities. She decided to hold herself to a standard of grace rather than perfection. This mantra led to the creation of her bestselling Simplified Planner®, a favorite among busy women everywhere—from mamas to executives and everywhere in between.
Grace, Not Perfection takes this message from a daily planner to an inspirational book that encourages women to simplify and prioritize. Designed with Emily Ley’s signature aesthetic, this book gives women tangible ways to simplify their lives to give space to what matters most. With a focus on faith, Emily reminds readers that God abundantly pours out grace on us—and that surely we can extend grace to ourselves.
Have you been told you can have it all, only to end up exhausted and occasionally out of sorts with the people you love? Are you ready for a new way of seeing your time? Learn to live a little more simply. Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard in Grace Not Perfection, and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart.
In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.
As she puts it: “A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.
“I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.
“Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.”
Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.
Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.
A flourishing life is possible—no perfection required!
Women often feel like they have to have it all together in order to live a meaningful life. Instead they feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and exhausted as they to figure out how to do it all. Author, business owner, and mom to three Lara Casey offers sound and grace-filled advice: “We can’t do it all, and do it well. But, we can choose to cultivate what matters.”
Welcome to the journey of getting messy in the rich soil of possibility—embracing imperfect, grace-filled progress to grow a life of joy.
Written as part encouragement anthem and part practical guide, Cultivate offers wisdom from God’s Word alongside lessons Lara has learned in her garden. Woven throughout is her personal story that helps release readers from the pressure to achieve and gives them freedom to move from planning to planting a meaningful legacy. “It’s in the imperfect—the mess of the dirt–that good things grow,” Casey reminds readers. “Peonies grow through the dirt, and so do we.” Readers will learn to embrace the season they’re in, finding balance as they interact in fresh ways with their current life scenarios, with God, and in the communities where they are planted.
Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul?
Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. In The Best Yes she will help you:
There are 168 hours in a week. This book is about where the time really goes, and how we can all use it better.
It’s an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. With the rise of two-income families, extreme jobs, and 24/7 connectivity, life is so frenzied we can barely find time to breathe. We tell ourselves we’d like to read more, get to the gym regularly, try new hobbies, and accomplish all kinds of goals. But then we give up because there just aren’t enough hours to do it all. Or else, if we don’t make excuses, we make sacrifices. To get ahead at work we spend less time with our spouses. To carve out more family time, we put off getting in shape. To train for a marathon, we cut back on sleep. There has to be a better way-and Laura Vanderkam has found one.
After interviewing dozens of successful, happy people, she realized that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting the daily grind crowd out the important stuff, they start by making sure there’s time for the important stuff. They focus on what they do best and what only they can do. When plans go wrong and they run out of time, only their lesser priorities suffer.
It’s not always easy, but the payoff is enormous. Vanderkam shows that it really is possible to sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, take piano lessons, and write a novel without giving up quality time for work, family, and other things that really matter. The key is to start with a blank slate and to fill up your 168 hours only with things that deserve your time.
Of course, you probably won’t read to your children at 2:00 am, or skip a Wednesday morning meeting to go hiking, but you can cut back on how much you watch TV, do laundry, or spend time on other less fulfilling activities. Vanderkam shares creative ways to rearrange your schedule to make room for the things that matter most.
168 Hours is a fun, inspiring, practical guide that will help men and women of any age, lifestyle, or career get the most out of their time and their lives.
Do You Control Your Phone—Or Does Your Phone Control You?
Within a few years of its unveiling, the smartphone had become part of us, fully integrated into the daily patterns of our lives. Never offline, always within reach, we now wield in our hands a magic wand of technological power we have only begun to grasp. But it raises new enigmas, too. Never more connected, we seem to be growing more distant. Never more efficient, we have never been more distracted.
Drawing from the insights of numerous thinkers, published studies, and his own research, writer Tony Reinke identifies twelve potent ways our smartphones have changed us—for good and bad. Reinke calls us to cultivate wise thinking and healthy habits in the digital age, encouraging us to maximize the many blessings, to avoid the various pitfalls, and to wisely wield the most powerful gadget of human connection ever unleashed.
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than.
In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences of rejection–from the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over to the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father. She leans in to honestly examine the roots of rejection, as well as rejection’s ability to poison relationships from the inside out, including our relationship with God.
With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa will help you:
Uninvited reminds us we are destined for a love that can never be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken–a love that does not reject or uninvite.
Every woman struggles with times of waiting—for a spouse, a child, a job. In Wait and See, Wendy Pope guides readers to focus on the Person of their faith rather than the object of their wait. Pope draws on the story of King David, who was anointed king nearly twenty years before he took his throne.
This hands-on guidebook invites readers to record their own waiting discoveries. With practical suggestions and real-life stories, Pope shows readers how they can be active in the present as they hope for the future.