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Books Read in February: Organized Simplicity, Pour Your Heart Into It, On the Banks of Plum Creek

I was excited to read Organized Simplicity by my friend, Tsh, from I’ve long followed and loved her blog.

Truthfully, though, I figured the message of this book would probably be something I was well familiar with. And I figured the book would be filled with  ideas I was mostly already living out.

Well, I was wrong.

In fact, it’s hard for me to describe in words how reading Organized Simplicity impacted me. The beauty of the book drew me in, but the message of the book convicted me more than I ever imagined it would.

(Me reading Organized Simplicity while on a trip with my husband this week — more on our special getaway tomorrow! Chapter 7 was my very favorite chapter of the entire book.)

As many of you well know, I love simplicity and I strive to only have a things we love and use in our home. But in the last few months, consumerism and busyness has inched its way into my heart and life — without me even realizing it.

Reading Organized Simplicity was a wake up call for me. It forced me to examine my life, stuff and to-do list in a whole new light. I realized that maybe I wasn’t as much of a minimalist as I thought I was — especially if you were to open some of my closets and cupboards! 🙂

I usually go through our whole house from top to bottom twice a year and aggressively eliminate things which we no longer love and use. And while this book inspired me to do another total house overhaul, more than just eliminating stuff, it caused me to dig down deeper and examine my heart and what simple living really means for our own family.

Tsh’s thoughts in chapter seven on streamlining your life so you can savor the moments that matter especially hit home for me. Life can become so busy. Organized Simplicity really challenged me to be purposefully intentional and prioritize my life so I don’t miss out on those precious fleeting moments.

Want to get a copy of Organized Simplicity for free? Go here to enter to win one of ten copies.

(Pages of notes I took from Organized Simplicity)

Also read in February:

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time — This was an interesting book written by the CEO and Chairman of Starbucks on how Starbucks was born and the company philosophies and practices which have made it so successful. It’s a story of hope and perseverance and one which I found inspiring, though the book did drag a little at times. (Note: There is a little bit of language in the book. And I know some disagree with me, but I always find four letter words in books bothersome because I feel like they are unnecessary and crude.)

On The Banks of Plum Creek — Finished reading this next Little House book aloud to the children. We loved this book, though, after a few weeks of cold and snow here, I cannot imagine what it would be like to live without modern conveniences in the long, cold winter blizzards!

24 Books I Plan to Read in 2011

Business and Financial Books I Plan to Read and Review This Year:

January — 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
February — Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

March — Becoming a Person of Influence
April — Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
May — Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life
June — Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents
July — Have a New You by Friday: How to Accept Yourself, Boost Your Confidence & Change Your Life in 5 Days
August — Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
September — America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money
October — Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
November — Shift Your Habit: Easy Ways to Save Money, Simplify Your Life, and Save the Planet
December – Personal Investing: The Missing Manual

Other Books I Plan to Read This Year:
January — Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment
February — Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

March — The Possibilities of Prayer
April — The Blessing of Boundaries
May — Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
June — Honey for a Child’s Heart
July — One With Christ
August — A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
September — Womanly Dominion: More Than A Gentle and Quiet Spirit
October — The Rose Conspiracy
November — Disciplines of a Godly Woman
December –Benjamin Rush: Signer of the Declaration of Independence

What books have you read recently? Any you’d highly recommend?

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  • Charissa says:

    Have you thought about reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp? I’m about half way through, and I am absolutely LOVING this book. I think this could really be a life-changing book for me!

  • Kay says:

    I felt sad because my rural library system does not have several of the books you suggest. That said, I felt tickled that I resisted the temptation to go BUY the books, because however wonderful they are… the reality is that I have 10 books stacked by my bedside that need my attention… I did get to read the Happiness Project and that was wonderful!

    In January, I also read Queste by Angie Sage (in the Septimus Heap series – I have a thing for kid’s books), Unclutter Your Life in a Week by Erin Doland, Private Life by Jane Smiley, My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira, Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy by JJ Virgin, and Triss by Brian Jacques…. most of which WERE indeed in my public library.

    So, I felt good that I am not only reading, I am NOT cluttering by buying more books… (as a serious bibliophile, that is a tremendous accomplishment!)

    I am enjoying Mansfield Park though – a freebie for my E-reader through Project Gutenberg 🙂

    thanks for your suggestions! I love the thought-provoking ideas 🙂

    Kay 🙂

    • Becky says:

      I’ve gotten some books through paperbackswap that my library didn’t have available. If you have some books you are willing to let go of, it’s a good way to declutter and get some new reads.

  • Carrie says:

    I have been a fan of Tsh and for a couple years now. Her daily docket has helped me beyond words.

  • Heather says:

    Is Tsh a Christian? I’m trying to figure out if her book is written from a Christian world view. Thanks!

  • Joyce says:

    My children love to be read a series of books called ” The Boxcar Children”. It is about a very close set of orphaned siblings who struggle to take care of each other until their grandfather finds and takes them in. The children are delightful, the storys are fun and completely wholesome, and the books are very easy to read. I highly recommend them. Happy reading!

  • Penny Twitchell says:

    I’ve always read quite a bit of self-help books like you do. Since 2007 when my Mom passed away from cancer (treatments), I’ve read self-help books that deal with health and illness. I’m currently reading the book, “Cancer is Not a Disease, It’s a Survival Mechanism” by Andreas Moritz. It is the best book I have ever read on this subject (and I’ve read quite a few). It is so important for EVERYONE to read this book… the current statistics are that 1 of every 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer. Knowing how to prevent it and what to do if you do get it, is probably the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones. Another great book that I’ve read is called “Green Goes with Everything” by Sloan Barrett (hope I remembered her name correctly).

  • April says:

    I have read all of E.M. Bounds books on prayer and they will change your life!!! There are no greater works on prayer, in my opinion. Good choice! I believe there are 8 or so of them. I would also recommend “The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit” by Matthew Henry. It’s amazing!!

  • Megan says:

    Yes! I review books on my website on a regular basis! Come check it out 🙂 megandyanray dot blogspot dot com.

    Currently, I’m highly recommending any Francine Rivers books. So good!

  • Cassie says:

    I just finished “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emereson Eggerichs. Great book with a biblical perspective on marriage.

  • Nancy from Mass says:

    I Love the Banks of Plum Creek! That was also my favorite LHTP book. Hmm, maybe I should re-read it myself. 🙂

  • Melonie K. says:

    I read Pajama School, Organized Simplicity and One Thousand Gifts this month, along with a few others. The first time “Crystal” was mentioned in Pajama School I thought, “I wonder if she means Crystal Paine?” LOL Obviously she did.

    A few nights ago I started Simplicity Parenting – very good book!

    Here’s what else I’ve read/plan to tackle:

  • Here is a blog post I did a little while ago about some of the books I had been reading: . I have been reading some marriage books because a couple of my friends are going through possible divorces and wanted to let them know which books I liked so that they wouldn’t have to waste their time trying to find them themselves! So far I really like Loving Solutions by Gary Chapman and The Four Seasons of Marriage, also by Chapman!

  • Tricia says:

    Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney is a FANTASTIC book. Gives clear, biblical advice on how to honor God as a woman in all different seasons of life (especially as a wife and mom!). I would highly recommend it!

  • Tiffany says:

    You have GOT to read Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley. It’s hands-down the best Biblical parenting book that I’ve ever read.

  • Nancy says:

    Just finished reading Heaven by Randy Akorn. Excellent!!!!

  • Angela says:

    I’ve been reading some great fiction books.

    I read the new thrillers by Michael Palmer (A Heartbeat Away) and Daniel Palmer (Delirious). Both were great books.

    Most recently I read The Bridge of Peace – it is Amish Romance. I found it to be an enjoyable book.

  • Brooke says:

    I am almost done with Running on Faith—Loving it!!

  • amy in peru says:

    great list! I love the idea of assigning the books you’d like to read to a month… I think that tangible goal would help me actually get through them in a timely manner instead of random and haphazard progress.
    yay! I’m taking that with me! 🙂

    amy in peru

  • amy in peru says:

    oh and PS. I can’t wait to read organized simplicity!! I’m putting it on my list, even if I don’t win! 😉

  • Carissa says:

    I too am reading On the Banks of Plum Creek to my 6 year old. I loved Little House on the Prairie series growing up…so it is great to be able to pass that on to my child.
    It has been a fun experience.

  • Mary says:

    Last month, I read Organized Simplicity and One Thousand Gifts. I was surprised that Organized Simplicity was more than just a “how-to” book. It really addresses the heart issues of living simply.
    I highly recommend One Thousand Gifts. I devoured it in a little over a day, but I’m reading it again at a slower pace. I rarely (as in, almost never) re-read a book.

  • Thanks for the sweet review, Crystal! I’m so glad you liked it. And thanks to the rest of you in the comments who’ve read my book. I’m honored to have you read my words!

    And yes, I also recommend my dear friend Ann’s book. It’s a keeper.

  • Danielle says:

    I recently discovered your blog as I was searching out coupons, money-saving ideas, etc. and I’m so glad I did. After the few (dozen) posts I’ve read (can’t wait to read more!), I can see that you are not just any old “frugal blogger”. You have Faith behind it all, and that makes me so happy. 🙂

    Thanks for all the invaluable advice. Tonight I’m on a coupon HIGH after saving over $30 in coupons (which didn’t include sales). There were a few FREE things in there, as well as SIX boxes of Gain FS sheets that I paid only 12 cents each for. WOO HOO! I’m only on week 3 of couponing and it just keeps getting better. My husband is so impressed. 🙂


    Regarding books, I recently finished Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, and God used it to change my life. I highly HIGHLY recommend it! It’s such a beautifully written book. I never read the same book twice (except the Bible), but One Thousand Gifts is an exception: I’m planning to start reading it again this week, it’s THAT good.

    Thanks so much, for all you do!

  • Theresa S. says:

    I love the monthly book reviews! Thanks for sharing them!

  • Gretchen says:

    I have also read One Thousand Gifts and I just did a book review on Radical by David Platt.

    Tsh’s book sounds really good. I may have to add it to my book list.

  • Lorianne says:

    I noticed you plan to read America’s Cheapest Family. I highly recommend that book, and have given it as a wedding gift before! I plan on reading it again soon!
    Another interesting read is American Wasteland by Jonathan Bloom. It talks about how much food is wasted in America, in the home, in restaurants, grocery stores, farms. Very interesting!

  • anonymous says:

    We love all the Little House books too, esp. Little Town on the Prairie. The American Girls series is good too, and now they have a mystery-type series (with the same characters) written for girls who are a little older (my 10 and 12 year olds enjoy them, even though they outgrew the original books). They’re longer and a bit more involving.

    • Laura says:

      Haha, I just checked out one of the AG mystery books for ME! I figured it would be a quick & interesting read.

      My library has Organized Simplicity. I am #50 in line. Thanks for the recommendations!

      • anonymous says:

        All right, I admit that I have on occasion bought these books for my daughters—with the full intention of reading them first myself!!

  • I just ordered Organized Simplicity with part of my BN Groupon…can’t wait until it comes! =)

  • Melia Gregory says:

    I would love to win a copy of Organized Simplicity but am not the lucky type. So just in case I don’t win where can it be purchased please? Thank you.

    • Andrea Q says:

      It’s available on Amazon (you can read other reviews there, too) and some other places. If you visit the author’s site, there’s a link.

  • Brian Wall says:

    I would love to win a copy of Organized Simplicity

  • memaw says:

    Thanx for offering this! Would love to win a copy of Organized Simplicity

  • Rose says:

    I could tell you were gone, I didn’t see that many updates from you.

    Did you go on your cruise? How was it?
    Can’t wait to hear!!!!

  • Renee says:

    Just found your blog via Tsh’s Facebook post, and you are now in my google reader feeds. Thanks for offering this book! I just read it and sadly had to return it to the library again. It’s a definite “keeper”, and so is Ann Voscamp’s new book. Wonderful resources for our homes!

  • We read all the Little House books out loud a couple times to our son and daughter and my daughter is almost 15 and she’s reading them again!

    And if On The Banks Of Plum Creek made you grateful for modern conveniences, wait until you read The Long Winter- oh my goodness, I can’t complain about being cold without remembering scenes from that book! In one, Laura wakes in the morning with a blanket of SNOW covering her blanket in their bed. 🙂 And splitting wood is a breeze compared to braiding straw day and night!

    Have fun sharing these with your kids, we sure did!

  • Becky says:

    I just added Organized Simplicity to my list. I was blown away by Living More With Less 30th Anniversary Edition when I read it this past month. It was challenging to read.
    Check out my other reviews here:

  • Rhonda R. says:

    I tried to get this book from the library, but I couldn’t make out the last name. Can you please tell me her last name. Thanks much!

  • Rebekah says:

    I’ve been a Simplemom follower for a long time now and have been so excited to read Tsh’s new book! I’m almost through with it and just love how practical it is. I’m currently on a mission to have my husband read at least the first half because he just doesn’t “get” the simple living idea.
    I would recommend this book to anyone – it’s one of the best I’ve read in years!

  • It looks like a good book!!!
    I am reading and actually have a giveaway on my blog right now for The Life Ready woman by Shaunti Feldhahn.
    I also read a couple of good books on the holocaust period recently. One was called The Seamstress. It was a very interesting book, such a heart wrenching story of survival and made me thankful for all I have. the character in the book says very simple “It is not as easy to die as you would think.”

  • Sharon says:

    If you think the Ingalls had bad winters in “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” wait until you get to “The Long Winter.”

  • Gail says:

    I am so pleased to hear of this book. It sounds like just what I need. My Mom has moved in with me, and I so wish I had tackled my clutter years ago! I always figured I’d get to it, and would have a big sale, donate items when there are clothes drives, etc. It’s hard now to take care of Mom and Dad, and try to find time to de-clutter. I am not a hoarder, but closets, and drawers are bursting at the seams, and I have way too much stuff! I am so angry at myself when I think of the money and time wasted on stuff that was simply a good buy, but not really needed, and the time I’ll spend now to get rid of it. It’s easier to not bring it into the house than to get rid of it.

  • laine says:

    I would love to win this book! I’ve been wanting to read and I know I need to read it!

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