Let's be real. I ain't no reader.
I'm the kind of person who simply can't sit and read through entire articles. Or overly-wordy Facebook rants.
Or super long blog posts. (Wait, what?)
But it's true. And if you tell me to read an entire book - shoot. I might just fall asleep on page iv of the introduction section.
I get bored, distracted, and easily start thinking of other things I need to get done that are "more important" than making it to Chapter 3.
Now, I know, that part of myself is absolutely ridiculous. I have always been taught that readers are leaders, and learners are earners. Or that a well-read person is a well-rounded person.
But, initially, when some of us bloggers were sent Oola for Women in the mail to read and review, I was torn in my mind between two things:
1) "READING...ughhhh," said the little devil on my left shoulder.
2) "YOU NEED THIS. You just need to learn to love to read, period," said the little angel on my right.
While the whole struggle leading up to it was all about the IDEA of simply READING something....
....the battle between "to read or not to read" disappeared before Chapter 1 even started.
Oola for Women, written by Dr. Dave Braun and Dr. Troy Amdahl, is absolutely, positively, undoubtedly going to be your next favorite on your "Summer Must-Have Reading List," girlfriends. It's gotta be.
The entire book was focused on the 7 F's of Oola (Family, Friends, Fitness, Faith, Field, Fun, Finance), and how a woman can live balanced in an unbalanced world if she works on all of those 7 key areas of life.
The authors take you on a journey of understanding the importance of all 7 of these areas for women specifically. And if you're lacking in any of them, the words on the page motivate you and encourage you to improve that part of your life so that you can be the awesome woman you were always meant to be.
Not only were their words inspirational, the authors added in stories told by none other than - you guessed it - women.
Stories that shared their struggles and victories in finances. Their hardships and triumphs among friends and family. Their wins and losses in fitness and field. And their discouragements and restorations of their faith in God.
Breaking up with toxic people/things/habits (Oola Blockers) and replacing them with good people/things/habits (Oola Accelerators) were showered throughout the book - things every single woman should absolutely read and reflect upon in what's going on within their own life.
And now, let me be perfectly real and raw, here. Sometimes, when it comes to "personal development" or "life bettering" books, I catch myself thinking,
"I don't need to read that, it's not going to tell me anything I don't already know."
"I'm in a good place right now in my life. Reading a book on how I can make my life better won't...well...make it even better, I guess."
Oh, oh, oh.
BOY, was I SO wrong.
If I could be even more real and honest - let me share with you some things that I have learned about Hannah Crews after reading this book.
1) I suck at making efforts to have more FUN.
Maybe I'm just a "low energy" (say that in a Donald Trump voice) kinda gal, maybe I'm too focused on other areas, or maybe I'm just - boring.
But in reading more about the importance of having FUN in life - I realized, man. I probably should let my hair down more often. I probably should make efforts to do fun stuff outside of just work and being a mommy.
I learned that when you incorporate JOYFUL activities in your life - put the computer down and go ride a roller coaster at Six Flags or something - it allows you to think clearer, enjoy things that aren't so enjoyable, and feel happier and healthier from the inside out.
So what did I do about it?
I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, where we laughed our heads off for hours.
My husband and I are booking a cruise - just for the two of us.
We had a game night at my house with some of my lifelong friends.
And IT. WAS. AWESOME.
2) I suck at FITNESS.
Just the thought of exercising makes me wanna drink wine, y'all.
Just the thought of running makes me wanna hyperventilate.
Just the thought of doing a bench press makes me wanna fall over and play dead.
But good heavens. After reading this book, it was like a light switch went off in my brain...
...and I hired a trainer.
While that might seem drastic, I've learned this about myself - I WILL NOT exercise unless I know someone depends on me to actually do it.
"Looking good" doesn't motivate me. "Beating goals" doesn't motivate me. But having a trainer telling me to be at the gym at 11am....motivates me. Because I don't want to let HER down.
Like for example - I played sports all throughout my life, even at my university during my college years. But here's the kicker. Yes, I was good at these sports, yes they were fun. But to be quite honest - I exercised because my team depended on me to perform at my best. I exercised because my coach depended on me to show up for practice, games, and meets.
So for me - the idea of inconveniencing someone else's time, or letting them down in my performance, or disappointing anyone who depended on me to show up and get work done, was my SOLE motivation to be fit at all. It was all about them, and never about me.
Once I recognized that about myself, I realized that if I was ever going to improve me, I needed to set my personality up for success. And getting a trainer has given me the accountability that I needed.
3) I've been sucking at FAITH...way more than I thought.
This is quite humiliating for me to write.
But have any of you ever been in a place where everything in life seems to be going pretty good? All your ducks are in a row, everyone around you is happy and loving, the only conflicts seem to be what you should have for dinner?
That's the season I've been in lately. And sure, it's been a blessing.
But after reading this book - I was convicted so strongly about my faith complacency, that I broke down in tears.
Yes, we go to church faithfully. Yes, we tithe obediently. Yes, we pray over our meals and over our kids before bed at night.
But I have been lacking in spending just that one-on-one time with my Jesus. I've not taken time to just sit back and reflect on my life, and thank Him for it. My mind would simply get distracted, and just go on to the next thing.
And I realized - oh my gosh. The last time I truly sought the Lord intently, and read His Word - was when things in my life were going WRONG.
I was being a fair weather Christian - only crying out to Him during the storms.
And I knew that had to change.
I pulled my daily devotional from the dusty bookshelf, turned to that day's reading - and what do you know. The topic was the importance of quiet time to deepen your relationship with Jesus. And I just wept.
All Jesus just wants is for us to worship Him, to love on Him, to lift Him high - through the good seasons, AND the bad.
So if that wasn't the most loving correction ever, I don't know what is.
I cannot thank the Oola guys enough for writing this book. It has opened my eyes to things I need to change as a woman, in the most loving and right-on way.
And friends, I know that you are ALL like me to a certain extent. There are areas of your life that you're ROCKING at - and there are areas of your life that you're SUCKING at.
So let's do this together. Get your book, too. And let's be the best women we can be - OOLA WOMEN.