5 Books I’ve Read Recently + 3 Books I Hope to Finish This Week

Books Read This Week

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a post about the books I’m reading. In all honesty, that was because I was so focused on finishing my own manuscript I didn’t have much extra time to read other people’s books.

And oh how I’ve missed it! It’s been so good to get back to regular reading the past two weeks!

Books I’ve Finished Recently:

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life — Ya’ll. Do yourself a massive favor and go pre-order this book. It is SO good. Michele is one of the best communicators I’ve ever known. The way she paints pictures with words moves and inspires me as a writer. But her book is much more than beautiful word pictures; it’s the story of a woman finding hope and peace in the middle of messes, heartaches, and unexpected difficulties in life. Highly recommended.

Addicted to Busy — This wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read on white space and margin, and I sort of struggled through parts of it because it sort of felt like it was dragging on a little slowly (maybe that’s an indication that I’m addicted to busy? That I have a short attention span?? ;)), but overall, it made me think and examine my own life. Some of my thoughts on S-P-A-C-E were the result of things I mulled over after reading this book.

You and Me Forever — I thought this book had some valuable information in it, but honestly, I found it a little scattered in how it was laid out. While I’m not opposed at all to self-publishing a book (as this one was), I felt like it could have benefited from having some more editing for clarity, flow, and to further develop and strengthen the bones of the book. I still feel it’s really worth reading — especially if you want to have your mindset challenged on what constitutes a “Godly marriage”.

Me Before You — This was one of the most heart-breaking, compelling, and thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. I thought it was very well-written and found it hard to put down. In fact, I read the entire book in one day! Caveat: This book is not written from a Christian perspective, has quite a bit of language, and the plot line deals with suicide in a very raw form. I didn’t agree with the outcome of the book, but it made me dig deep and think hard… and books that do that are ones I feel are very worth my time.

Grace is Free: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism, to Failure, to Faith — As someone who was deeply involved in what many would term “the fundamentalist movement” for a number of years of my life, I found this book’s title intriguing. One of our elder’s wives from our church in Kansas recommended it to me and I found it insightful, thought-provoking, and encouraging as I’m on a journey to walk by faith and live a live steeped in grace instead of being a performer, perfectionist, and people-pleaser.

Books I Hope to Finish This Week

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) — I’m really digging into this right now after setting it aside for a few weeks. Such thought-provoking stuff in it!

A Proper Pursuit — I finally started reading this one! It’s been on my to-read stack what feels like forever! I’m about eight chapters in and enjoying it.

The Best Yes — I’m working through this as part of my morning devotions and really finding it helpful as I think through my priorities and goals for 2014.

And maybe I’ll read a few others, too. We’ll see!

What have you read recently? What are you planning to read this week? Any good book recommendations for me?

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Clean Your House for Christmas: Day 4

Join Me For the Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge

Welcome to the 5-Day Clean Your House for Christmas Challenge. Otherwise known as: Crystal really needs to deep clean her house and she needs the public accountability to get it done. Ahem. :)

{Thank you for humoring me. If your house is in great shape, please just skip over these posts. I may be the only one who has kind of let my housework and decluttering slide a bit the past few months.}

I got up a little late this morning as I stayed up late last night finishing up some business projects that I really needed to get done but just hadn’t had the energy for because I was sick. It felt so good to finally check those off my list!

I’m a little late in getting around this morning, but because my house is clean and the laundry is mostly done already, I’m still hopeful that it’s going to be a good day!

Today, we’re cleaning the bathrooms. I’m optimistic that this will be an easier job since there aren’t as many nooks, crannies, and cupboards for stuff to be hiding.

Here’s my plan for this morning (feel free to follow it somewhat, if you find it helpful… or you can get a laugh out of how detailed I am!):

This Morning’s Plan

1. Read my Bible, eat breakfast, and start laundry.

2. Blogging work/emails.

3. Exercise, shower, get dressed to my shoes. (Thanks, Flylady!)

4. Morning chores with the kids.

5. Get the kids started on their schoolwork. Kindergarten with Silas.

6. Switch the laundry.

7. Attack the bathrooms:

  • Surface clean.
  • Go through cupboards, drawers, and closet.

8. Read aloud with the kids.

9. Celebrate a productive morning, er day… because it probably won’t all get done by noon!

So, that’s my morning plan. I’m hopeful to have it all done before dinner time today. I’ll take pictures and will post an update later today to let you know how it goes.

Want To Join Me?

Are you joining me? If so, what room(s) are you planning to tackle today and what’s your morning plan? Let us know in the comments. If you are blogging about it, I’ll have a link-up that you can link your post to in my post later today.

photo credit

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Giveaways Galore

Of the 1,976 entries, the winners of the ZAQ Diffuser are:

Julie (julieschroeder12@)
Anna (anna.preus@)

Of the 3,187 entries, the winners of the Mighty Leaf Tea Sampler are:

Alyssa (AlySusan122293@)
Katherine (Katfarmime@)
Kimberly (knchock@)

Of the 2,895 entries, the winners of the Silhouette Portrait Machine are:

Amy (lostangel1995@)
Linda (walk9@)

All winners should have received an email with further instructions on claiming your prize.


Are you giving something away on your blog this week? If so, post your link below and let all the readers here know so they can get in on the action! Your giveaway must be family-friendly and no-strings-attached. In addition, to make it easy to navigate, your link must go directly to your giveaway post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your giveaway post will be deleted. Links left solely for the purpose of promoting an affiliate link will also be deleted.

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Gratitude Journals: Buy 5, Save $5 | Buy 10, Save $20 (guaranteed to arrive by Christmas!)


Update: The Gratitude Journals now completely out of stock — we sold many, many more than we expected to this Christmas season and won’t have another shipment in from the publisher until early next year. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. You may still be able to find some stock at your local Christian bookstore still or online from Amazon.

Looking for a last-minute Christmas idea for some people on your list? Want to bless and impact your family and friends by encouraging them to take a little time each day to write down their blessings?

Our new Choose Gratitude Blessings Journals would make the perfect gift!

And we’re excited to now offer bulk discounts to those who want to order multiple copies. The more you order, the more you’ll save!


Choose Gratitude Blessings Journal Bulk Discounts

Read more about the Choose Gratitude Blessings Journal here.

Want to see inside the journal? Click here.

Click here to order and get these bulk discounts!

Please note: Orders must be placed by midnight December 12th to guarantee arrival by Christmas. We cannot guarantee arrival on orders placed after that date.

Have a question about your order or need any help with an order you’ve already placed? Email joy @ moneysavingmom.com.

And thank you so much for how you’ve celebrated with me this year as I’ve spread my wings and tried some new things — like creating this Blessings Journal. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot this past year and am looking forward to what 2015 holds.

I’ll share more soon about my goals for 2015, what I learned through mistakes and struggles in 2014, and some {good} changes I’m making for 2015. In the mean time, I just wanted to say thank you so much for being on this adventure with me! I appreciate each and every one of you!

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