Whether we want to admit it or not, unmade decisions can cause a lot of turmoil and stress in our lives. In The Next Right Thing, Emily does her readers a great service by giving them practical ways to practice being better decision makers. A few chapter titles from the book include: "Know What You Want More," "Make a Most Important List," and "Be Where You Are." Each chapter begins with a brief story and/or guide post and ends with a prayer and a tip to actually put the aforementioned idea into practice. Within the book, Emily often repeats the phrase, "Do The Next Right Thing In Love" and encourages her readers to make space for their souls to breathe.
I picked up this book thinking that I didn't really need it because I'm actually pretty decent at making decisions. I was aware that I do often get "decision fatigue" and I figured Emily would probably address that within the book's pages. I've been listening to Emily's podcast (also named The Next Right Thing) for a while now and it always helps me to take a much needed deep breath. I also have the privilege of attending church with Emily and getting to hear her read scripture which is like an opportunity to slow down and be present as well. So, all that to say, I decided that this book might be a good thing for me and I started reading.
I'm not exaggerating (something I tend to do just a little) when I say that I completely underestimated the truths that I would find within the pages of this book. As I read, it was almost as if Emily were speaking directly to me and helping me to see some things that I had pushed under the rug and refused to name.
These past few years have brought a lot of changes into my life. Typically, I'm pretty good with change, but there were A LOT of changes to navigate this time around. Here are some of the major ones:
I quit my job as a school librarian to become a stay-at-home mom. We bought our first home. My husband started his own business. I started my own business. My dad died. We had our second child. My husband's business grew a lot. My business grew a lot. My oldest became a very strong-willed 4 year old. My kids have been sick for what now feels like an eternity.
Even after I list them out, there is a battle going on in my mind about how much change that actually is. The dialogue goes something like, "Oh, that's not too bad. Some other people have way more stressors than that." What Emily helped me to realize is that naming things for what they are is really important. I failed to name these changes as hard things and was continuing on as I always had; trying to do all the things as I always have. I have learned so much about myself during these years of big changes and one of those things is that I feel responsibility for many things, some of which are not mine to be responsible for. I'm a stay-home-mom who has transitioned into having a business that I mostly run by myself (I did hire part-time help this year, praise). Emily shares a similar story about being a stay-at-home mom who is also a work-from-home writer and as I read the words on the page it was like a light bulb turned on and helped me see some of the things I had been ignoring. I am no longer a stay-at-home mom. I am a mom who loves her kids dearly and wants to have a more flexible job so that I can be with them more, but I have a business that is a full time work-from-home gig. Y'all. This is huge. Just naming this truth has freed me up to see that my responsibilities have to change. I have added new things to my plate and therefore I must also take some things away. I can not, in fact, do all the things.
I could go on for pages about these aha moments that I experienced reading The Next Right Thing. I flew through the pages on my Kindle because I couldn't wait to see what Emily was going to say next. I am incredibly excited to get a hard copy on release day (April 2nd) so that I can sit down for a while with this beauty of a book and underline and mark up all the goodness found within its pages. Do yourself a favor and reserve a copy for yourself.
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Y'all. I read 77 books this year (follow me on Goodreads here)!! My goal was 75 and with 2020 being the year of the pandemic, I was able to make it happen. I listened to many of them and also bought SO. MANY. BOOKS. that I have random stacks throughout my house. Below you'll find my favorites by category...
This list includes favorite things from this year (excluding books because they needed their own post)!
Favorite TV Shows: Ted Lasso, Bridgerton (Shonda Rhimes does it again), The Queen's Gambit, Schitt's Creek
Favorite Movie: Y'all, I can only recall watching two movies this year. I did really love the ones I watched: Happiest Season and Little Women.