My amazing friend, Joy, asked me a few months ago to be on her launch team for her new book, Penduka. She gave me the gist of the book and I was in from that moment. I knew this book would be exactly what I needed! Over the last few years, I’ve been struggling to find my way. I’ve had vague goals and ideas of what and where I want to be with my life, but never had the direction or push to make those things happen. I was stuck spinning wheels and I honestly felt like I was just meant to fail and I’d never get out of this trap I seemed to have set for myself. I cannot tell you how much I needed this book and how much it has helped me already! I will preface this “book review” with a note that I have also been seeing a therapist during the entire time I read the book (and before and after). I honestly think the two forces together – the book and the therapy – have opened my mind so much. God put these two things in my life at the same time for a reason and I can tell I’ve gotten so much more out of therapy and the book by using them together. Not at all to say that you must see a therapist while you read this book (or at all, for that matter), but it definitely did help me and where I was at in life when this book entered it! The word “Penduka” is Namibian for “wake up”. And as Joy says in the introduction, “This book is a call to rise up and to step into who we were created to be.” There are 3 sections – Passion, Purpose, & Process – with 7 chapters each. “…passion is the fuel, purpose is the direction, and process is the way in which we get there.” So, right off the bat, I knew this was going to be good. I definitely needed to “wake up” my life. Like I said, I’d felt stuck for so long…just spinning my wheels. And I knew I wasn’t living up to who God had created me to be. I wasn’t using my talents well because I was letting other, less important, things get in the way. Definitely since starting my blog, but really my whole adult life, I’ve had such a hard time figuring out my “passion” and an even harder time learning how to make the best of my time and really work at what I need to do to move forward in life. But from the beginning of the book, it was like Joy was talking about my life! I’ve been living…and hurting…this way for years and I thought I was alone. Like everyone else had it figured out and I would just never get there. But if she knew this deeply hidden part of me…of so many women…already, maybe there is hope for me! I just kept thinking throughout the whole book “I need this book so badly! How does she know exactly what I’m going through?” I want to share a couple things that stood out the most to me from the book, but there are so many more! I literally have pages and pages of notes that I will be rereading to keep myself on track! Okay…here we go! A big thing that has held me back from moving forward in life in general was the fact that I’ve failed at past career path attempts. I’ve always felt that I should be ashamed of those paths I’ve gone down that ended in a dead end. I thought that because I didn’t complete that, because I wasn’t successful at this, that I wouldn’t ever excel at anything, really. Seeing those things as failures has really put a black cloud over any new thing I try. I just think “why would this work?” & “what makes me think I can be successful at this new idea when I’ve failed at so many other things?” But Joy shows you a different perspective. You don’t need to feel bad about things you’ve tried that haven’t worked out. They aren’t failures. As she says in her book “…they act as breadcrumbs along the path to discovering what it is we truly are passionate about.” Wait, what?! You mean these “failures” are really opportunities? Seeing them in a totally different light definitely changed the way I looked at them. Yes, I “quit” my landscape photography business, but look at how much I learned about photography because of it. I wouldn’t know nearly as much as I do now if I hadn’t started there! It helped me start my blog on the right foot. That is something to be thankful for…not to see as a failure! And what about the fact that I also “quit” interior design school? That one has been a tough one for me for years. But if I look at it closely I realize that I just wasn’t ready for it yet. My confidence wasn’t there. It wasn’t the right place for me at that time (over 10 years ago!). But the experience was worthwhile. And I can now accept the fact that I didn’t quit because I wasn’t good at it. I get lots of compliments about my home and the furniture I paint to know that I’m good at what I do. (I don’t mean that in a boastful way, so please don’t take it that way!) I can see that “failure” differently now, too. I know it just wasn’t the right thing at that time for me…but that time in my life still had a part in shaping who I am today – both as a designer/blogger and as a person. It was incredibly difficult for me to start the last section – called “Process”. I set the book down for several days before I was willing to dive back in. I remember thinking “do I want to read what’s next?” because I knew it would be good and would help me, but it would also be hard and make me accountable to actually live the way I’m meant to. You see, I’m really good at “research” as I like to call it. I like to find out all the steps to take before I do things. I get ideas from other people, read books, look at pictures, gather all my information before I take that step forward. Whether it’s in design or just some random thing like adding color to my flower garden. I’m a researcher. But I’m not a doer. I flake out once I figure out the “best” way to do something because I start thinking “what if I don’t actually do it well enough?” “What if my research fails me and I don’t come out on top? What then?” I knew that feeling was creeping in when I started the “Process” section. I knew it was going to give me all the details I needed to move forward with a pretty darn amazing life. I just had to put in the work to make it that way. And I stalled there for a while. I knew what I had to do and I was too scared to do it. Somehow I eventually pushed past that fear and read it anyway. And every sentence. Every chapter. Changed me. I can’t tell you how many notes and quotes I’ve written down from this book, especially the last section. And even better…I feel myself changing. And instead of gathering all the information and then stuffing it away because I’m too afraid to use it, I’m making progress. I’m using what I’ve learned and pushing forward. Even if I don’t do it perfectly, at least I’m doing it! I’m taking better care of myself. Speaking up for myself more, taking more time to decide if something is really what I want or if I can just let that part of my life go and be okay with it. I’m having real, deep conversations with friends about things that really matter and not worrying about them judging me, becoming the real me and being okay with that. Letting the world see me for exactly who I am instead of who I thought they wanted to see. Is it crazy that I’m smiling in my head just writing that last sentence? I just think of all the growth that has happened in me over the past several months and it makes me so happy, content, proud even! If you couldn’t tell, I would absolutely recommend this book over and over again! It truly is life-changing! I wish I could share every single thought I had from this book. All the tiny little ways it’s changing my life day in and day out that are adding up to something big. But you’ll see it. You’ll see it in the way I write. In the pictures I share on Instagram (more of my LIFE instead of just pretty, staged pictures all the time). In the way I hold my head up high and live my life with confidence! You’ll see it. And I hope it inspires you to find those things for yourself. Because you deserve to feel this good. You deserve to take good care of yourself. You deserve to find your purpose and live your life fully! PS – get the study guide, too! I was so hesitant about using it because I’m not really a “dig deeper” questions kind of girl. And honestly, I didn’t answer every single question, but it really was good for future planning, taking action, figuring out how I really felt about what I had just read. I would absolutely recommend the book and study guide together!