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3 Books I Read Last Week (+ how I’m finding more time to read!)

3 Books I Read Last Week + my secrets for finding more time to read

I finished three books last week. Notice I said finished. That’s the key word. 🙂 I didn’t start and finish all three of these last week.

In fact, it took me about 3 months to read If. Because it was one of those books you didn’t want to rush through. Instead, you wanted to read slowly and savor and digest every chapter.

3 Books I Finished Last Week

Stone Fox — I read this book aloud to the kids at breakfast. Even though it’s a very sad story, it’s engaging and packed with lessons on courage, bravery, respect, strong work ethic, and much more. It’s a short book and a quick read, but we all enjoyed it — including me!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear — I’d had this book on my bookshelf for quite some time and kept picking it up and trying to start it and then I’d set it back down resolving to read it later. When I discovered the amazing-ness that is OverDrive and OneClickDigital (our library’s free audiobook apps — I can’t believe I just now checked these out!), the first audiobook I downloaded was Big Magic and I loved it.

While I strongly disagree with much of the author’s worldview and some of her insights, her book really challenged me as a creative. I especially loved her thoughts on fear. This post was completely inspired by reading Big Magic. {Note: This book contains quite a few expletives.} 

If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities — I love Mark Batterson and this book was another book that challenged, convicted, and messed with me in a powerful way. I underlined and dog-eared many of the pages, sent photos of pages in the book to friends who I knew would appreciate some of the quotes. Here’s one of the quotes that I just had to share.

Related: My Periscope Video on These 3 Books

3 Books We Read This Week + a movie we watched

A Movie We Watched This Week

The girls had seen the trailer to the Miracles From Heaven movie and asked if we could watch it. I didn’t really know anything about it, but it looked decent from the reviews so I said we could watch it together.

It’s based on a true story and it’s a pretty amazing story, at that. I wasn’t familiar with the story and didn’t know how it ended, so that made it more enjoyable. Supposedly, the trailer ruins the story, so if you don’t like to know the ending before you watch a movie, don’t watch the trailer to this one.

I thought Jennifer Garner did an excellent job portraying the anguish that a mom would have felt in this situation and not sugar-coating what would have been incredible traumatic and frustrating.

I thought some of the acting was cheesy and it felt like a low-budget film throughout, but overall, it was uplifting and very family-friendly. (Note: Parts of the movie include some medical drama and trauma… so be advised of that if you’re planning to have your kids watch it. It could frighten younger kids.)

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How I’m Finding Time to Read Right Now

People are always asking me how on earth I find time to read as much as I do. I written some about How I Find Time to Read before, but I thought I’d share my three methods that are working well for me right now:

1. Read a Little Bit Every Morning

One thing that’s been very effective for me for a long time is to include reading as part of my morning routine. After I read my daily Bible reading, I open up whatever spiritually encouraging book I’m currently reading and read a few pages from it.

A few pages might not feel like much, but it adds up over time. And some days, I’ll have time to read a full chapter. Which means that I can usually get through at least one inspirational book like this every 1-2 months, depending on the length of the book.

Is there something you do every morning (or every day) that could be your “trigger reminder” to read a few pages from a book. Maybe when you sit down to breakfast or sit down at your desk at work or during your baby’s nap or while you’re waiting in the school pickup lane during the school year? Making it a habit — almost like brushing your teeth — means that it’s much more likely to happen without you really even having to think about it after awhile.

2. Read To Your Kids at Meal Times

Some people don’t think you can count the books you read to your kids as Books Read This Year. I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, if that’s the only way you can get any reading in, it’s a fantastic way to do so!

We like to read together at breakfast. I usually just read one chapter of whatever read aloud we’re currently going through. It’s simple, it usually only takes about 10-15 minutes, and it’s the stuff that memories are made of!

To this day, one of my fondest memories growing up is all sitting at the table eating lunch while my mom read. We read biographies of famous people and missionaries most often, and I learned so much from those books and the stories contained in them. Many of the lessons are things I carry with me to this day.

By the way, reading during a meal means that there’s a much better chance your kids will be quieter and it makes it much easier to get through an entire chapter with a lot fewer interruptions!

3 Books I Read This Week

3. Listen to Audiobooks

I don’t know why it took me so long to get on the audiobook bandwagon. I guess maybe I just was making it too hard or I was thinking that since I’m a visual learner, listening to books wouldn’t work well for me.

Inspired by my Facebook Live viewers, though, I looked into our library’s free audiobook programs and I’m thrilled that I did. Because not only does our library offer an amazing collection of audiobooks on their app, they are all FREE!

They don’t offer every single book in existence, but the collection on our library’s two apps (OneClickDigital and OverDrive) is quite extensive — enough to keep me supplied with good audiobooks for a long, long time!

I’ve found that the best audiobooks for me to listen to are ones where the audiobook reader is very engaging and where the book is not a book where I’d want to underline and catch every single word. I’m also finding that it’s a great way to get through long books that might feel overwhelming or intimidating to read (for instance, I put off reading Unbroken for forever, but I’m over halfway through listening to it — and I just started it about a week ago!).

I’ve been listening to audiobooks while cooking, cleaning, and while doing my evening routine before bed. I’ve found that I have at least an hour to two hours every day when my hands are busy but my mind is free that I can turn on an audiobook and enjoy it while doing activities I’d already be doing anyway.

Get a FREE 3-Month Subscription to Audible!

By the way, if you’re interested, not only do I recommend checking out your local library to see if they offer free audiobooks (the most highly recommended apps are the OverDrive app and the Hoopla app), but Audible is also offering a free 3-month subscription right now. Just be sure to put on your calendar to cancel it before the 3 months are up!

Related: My Periscope Video on How I’m Finding Time to Read

Other Reading-Related Links:

What are YOU reading? Any great recommendations for me?

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  • carla powers says:

    When my kids were little I homeschooled them and we read Stone Fox also. I was reading it aloud and I didn’t now the ending and I was crying so hard while I was trying to read it! After that I checked out the books more ahead if time so I was prepared! It was a great classic story! My kids are on their own now but we still laugh about that incident! Loved homeschooling them!

  • These posts always encourage me to prioritize reading. It’s so easy to make excuses about being too busy, when in reality, we can all find more time for things we enjoy, if only we make a point of it.

    Also, we read Stone Fox in our homeschool this year, and absolutely loved it. Such a surprise ending (I was bawling like you would not believe)! 🙂

  • Pamela says:

    If you liked Big Magic, you’d probably like Rob Bell’s How to Be Here. To me, it felt like it addressed creativity on a more global level than Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. I found it really inspiring to view all of my life as creative work, not just the stuff we typically put in the “creative” box (like writing or painting).

  • Tina Davis says:

    My 11yo son and I enjoyed Stone Fox also. The ending caught us off guard but it was a great book.
    We are currently listening to The One and Only Ivan. It also has some “dark” moments.

  • Wendy says:

    I love the book recommendations that you give and love to know what you are reading. I usually put them on my list to read and enjoy them greatly!

  • Alicia says:

    So many thoughts!

    1. I just finished Honey for a Woman’s Heart by Gladys Hunt ( in order to make a book list for myself. I want to get back into the habit of reading like I did when I was younger.

    2. We have loved listening to audiobooks online through our public library for free! Hoopla has a pretty nice selection.

    3. I’m so conflicted about the movie. I blogged about it here, and would love to know if you thought it followed the textbook “Christian movie” plot outline. (problem, find Jesus, problem solved/prayer answered, no more trouble ever)

    • Personally, I was impressed that the movie was more raw, real, and “messy” than I expected it to be. It wasn’t all tied up in a neat little bow and it didn’t make it appear like it was easy or you just pray and everything is fixed. However, that was just my perspective. I’d love to hear what other people think!

  • Tara says:

    My kids watched the movie last night with their grandmother. I did not. I have a 7 yr old with anxiety. Needless to say, we had a long night with her last night. She is was nervous she might get sick like the girl did. (My daughter has also fallen out of a tree, so we had that also) It ended up being a good time to talk things through and pray together, but I wouldn’t have allowed her to watch it if I would have known she would be so upset.

  • Wendy Briscoe says:

    My 7 year old is a part of the Summer Reading Program at our local Library, and he read 27 books this Summer. I think I have read a total of one chapter, BUT I’m working on helping some ladies in our church with a huge knitting for charity project (650 dish cloths). So, I haven’t had the time to read. I like to use Our Daily Bread devotional. Quick 3 or 4 minute devotional with scripture reading from NT and OT in the Bible. Excellent for those busy times in life. Also, I am having to use large print books because my eye sight is not what it used to be, and I am happy to say that our local Library has a great array of Large Print Books. I just love your posts. Hope you have a great Summer.

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