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Tag Archive: 2020 Books

The 3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ the 1 classic movie we watched)

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

The Fourth Trimester

I was really excited to read this book as I thought it would be great for me to prep for birth and postpartum recovery — especially since I’ve struggled with postpartum depression/anxiety after all three of my pregnancies. (I think a lot of my struggles were related to not taking time to properly rest and heal after my births.)

Going into reading it, I knew the book wasn’t written from a Christian perspective and had a lot of influence from other religions in it. I was prepared for this. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting past a lot of those sections. So much of the advice just felt so self-serving and humanistic…  and some of the advice to ask for so much help and set such strong boundaries after the birth kind of felt like it was encouraging you to come across as a jerk. (Just being honest here!!)

That said, my big takeaways are that rest, good nourishment, and limited movement for the few weeks after birth are really important. Those are my hopes for this postpartum period for my upcoming birth and what I’ve spent the last few months prepping to make happen! This book definitely encouraged me to prioritize that.

Does anyone have suggestions of a good book for postpartum that encourages these things that might be a better fit for me (or something for me to recommend to others)?

Verdict: 2 stars

The Lazy Genius Way

I have heard of Kendra Adachi’s podcast (The Lazy Genius) but, truth be told, I’m not a listener. I think I may have have heard one episode way back when or maybe have heard her on another podcast, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of her.

Despite that, I really loved this book! It’s well-written, funny, practical, and realistic. Kendra has the perfect balance of truth, humor, and grace sprinkled throughout it. She also makes you feel like you can actually get your home and life in better order (notice I didn’t say “perfect order” just “better order”? I think Kendra would approve of that language!)

I love her approach to be a genius about those things that truly matter to you and your family and to be lazy about those things that don’t matter to you and your family. I also found her light-hearted footnotes throughout the book to be a fun addition.

While I’ve read a LOT of time management, home management, and life management books, I still found so much fresh perspective and inspiration in Kendra’s book. And now I’m thinking I need to check out her podcast!

Verdict: 4 stars

The Gospel Comes With a House Key

Okay, I was a little scared to write this review, because it seems everyone I know absolutely adored this book. And, while I really loved parts of it, there were other parts of it that I just couldn’t stand behind wholeheartedly.

Let’s start with what I loved: I loved the author’s desire to encourage what she calls, “Radically Ordinary Hospitality”. It is a lost art in our usually-busy worlds and I think it is one of the biggest building blocks to genuine community and Christlike love.

I also loved that the book shone a light on foster care and the need for Christian families to prayerfully consider being involved in this ministry in some way. (You all know how passionate I am about foster care!)

That said, what bothered me in the book was that she presented hospitality almost as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. That it’s only in the context of your church and neighborhood and that it pretty much always involves opening up your home for a meal.

While opening up your home is fantastic and serving food is great, I think hospitality can also be inviting a friend to the park or to coffee or to join you in a walk or reaching out to the lonely-looking person sitting on the sidelines at your child’s baseball game or inviting your co-worker to lunch… and a thousand other things.

For me, I believe hospitality is going to take on many different forms — because we all have different giftings and different spheres and circles we run in. I wish she would have talked much more about this.

The second thing I didn’t like in the book was that she was super honest about situations they’ve been through with other people — the good, the bad, the ugly. And in many cases, she shared a lot of details about conversations that I felt were private and not ones to be shared in a published book that anyone in the world might read.

I feel like there’s good chance some of the things she shared openly and in detail about very personal hurts and situations could very well damage relationships in her life — even some of those that might be ones she’s seeking to practical “radically ordinary hospitality” to.

(Maybe she got every single person’s permission to share what she shared and maybe each person was 100% okay with it… even then, I think many of the examples and conversations could have been omitted and the book would have still been as powerful. For me, it would have been even more powerful.)

And now I’m going to go duck from all of the rotten tomatoes I’m going to get thrown at me! 😉

Verdict: 3 stars

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

Last week, we watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday — a movie Jesse and I had watched together a long time ago together and thought the kids might enjoy. They did enjoy parts of it, but they found it a little on the slow side and thought it drug on — especially toward the end.

(Note: I don’t think this actually qualifies as a “classic movie” since it came out in 2007, but oh well, we’re going to say it is since it was the movie we watched last week!)

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

2 Books I Finished Last Week

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Risen Motherhood

I had high hopes for this book… but it sort of fell flat for me. It wasn’t that there weren’t some nuggets of truth in it, I just didn’t find a lot that spoke to me in the season of motherhood I’m in. Or maybe it was the writing style? Or the layout?

I’m not sure, exactly. I just know that I usually underline and dog ear at least a few pages of all books that I read and I didn’t do either for this entire book.

Also, I realized that I got to the end of the book and still am not entirely sure what they mean by the phrase “Risen Motherhood”. It didn’t seem really clear or obvious to me in the book, so that kind of perplexed me. I think they were using the phrase to mean, “Gospel-Centered Motherhood”, but unless I totally missed this definition somewhere (and it’s possible that I did!), it didn’t seem to be explained well in the book.

I debated whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. Ultimately, I decided on 3 stars just because it does have nuggets of truth and I think it would likely be an encouragement to other moms in other seasons. If you’ve read it and loved it, I’d love to hear a differing perspective! Please share in the comments.

Verdict: 3 stars

Made to Move Mountains

I was excited to read this book and I definitely did dog-ear and underline parts of it. If you need a shot in the arm to step out in faith, I think it will really encourage you!

Kristen’s faith and story has long encouraged me and this book chronicles more of her journey — the highs and lows, hardships and victories.

The one thing I didn’t love about this book was that it could definitely make some people feel guilty or that they need to follow in Kristen’s footsteps. I love her passion and heart for the work God has called her to, but I felt like some of it could make a reader feel like she needs to have the same passion and heart.

I know that wasn’t Kristen’s intent at all, but I wanted to mention this and just remind you that God has called all of us to different ministries, passions, and missions. We aren’t all called to be advocates for fair trade or fostering. We each have individual callings and it’s our job to see the Lord to how He would have us to use our giftings and abilities to make a difference in the world.

Verdict: 3 stars

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Love Idol

I read this book back in 2014 and it made my Top 10 Books Read in 2014 list. Since I’m writing some about the importance of recognizing how much you are loved by God in my upcoming book, I wanted to re-read this book again.

It was just as good the second time around! It’s packed with powerful and wise reminders of how we are pre-approved by God. As such, we don’t need to chase after the approval, the praise, the admiration, or the affirmation of others.

If you struggle to believe you are loved, enough, and valuable, this book is for you. It’s also a fantastic read if you battle against having perfectionistic, people-pleasing tendencies.

It’s well-written and engaging, but more than that, the message is powerful, freeing, life-changing!

Verdict: 4 stars

Don’t Overthink It

Ever found yourself second-guessing a decision or stalled by paralysis analysis? Don’t Overthink It will give you practical suggestions, sage encouragement, and worthwhile strategies you can implement to stop over-thinking and make faster, better decisions that will bring you joy!

There were many great stories and examples in the book and I think it might be Anne Bogel’s best writing yet. Her words inspired both this Instagram post and this Instagram post.

(In case you didn’t click through and read those links, you do need to read the quotes they are based on: “Decisions made out of fear are not good decisions.” AND “When we assume we can’t, it’s guaranteed that we won’t.”)

Verdict: 4 stars

The Austen Escape

I’ve loved Katherine Reay’s books and have had this one on my shelf for a long time. So I was really excited when it came up to download for free on Libby.

I have to be honest and say that it felt a little bit like a Hallmark movie and it seemed to drag on slowly at times and was pretty predictable in others. (If you didn’t pick up on it, I’m not much of a Hallmark movie fan. Should I admit that out loud??! However, if you are in the camp of people who love Hallmark movies, then it just might totally be your cup of tea.)

Overall, it wasn’t my favorite book by Katherine Reay, but if you’re looking for a light read and you love Jane Austen (or Hallmark movies!), you might enjoy it.

Verdict: 3 stars

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

Last week, we watched The Strongest Man in the World. It’s a little cheesy in parts, but overall, it was a fun, lighthearted movie. Silas especially enjoyed it. Have you seen it before?

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 book I quit)

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Get Your Life Back: Everyday Practices for a World Gone Mad

I knew within reading just a few pages of this book that I was going to love it. I’m only vaguely familiar with John Eldredge and had never read any of his other books, but I truly found this book valuable and inspiring.

In fact, I found it so helpful, that Jesse and I recorded a podcast together with some of my initial thoughts from the book last week. Then, we invited John to come do an interview with me where he shared even more about what first prompted him to write this book (he was feeling burnt out and addicted to his phone and email) and daily practices that have helped him to regain his perspective, renew his soul, and refresh his spirit.

We recorded the podcast episode with him today and I can’t wait to share it with you next week! I think you’ll find his thoughts on caring for your soul, the power of the one-minute pause, and cultivating beauty in your life to truly be an inspiration!

And, if you can’t tell, I also definitely recommend reading this book! 🙂

Verdict: 4 stars

I Choose Brave: Embracing Holy Courage and Understanding Godly Fear

Katie asked me if I would endorse her book a few months ago. I rarely say yes to endorsement requests, but the book title and subject intrigued me and I’d heard so many wonderful things about Katie.

It was an honor to get to endorse her book. My only critique is that I would have loved for her to share a lot more of her journey and story, because I feel we could all really benefit from hearing more of what she has walked through.

Here’s what I wrote about her book:

If you are walking through a hard place in your life, struggling with fear, or feeling overwhelmed by a mountain ahead of you, Katie’s book will serve as a welcome reminder to you to fear God and walk in faith. Her words challenged and convicted me to say “yes” to boldly believe God and choose bravery, in spite of my own fear.

This book is slated to release in August (thus the reason I don’t have a pretty book picture to show you; what I read was a collection of coiled bound papers that were her book’s final draft!)

Verdict: 3 stars

Raising Worry-Free Girls

Whether you have sons or daughters, I think this is a valuable read. Yes, all of her stories, anecdotes, and advice is more girl-driven, but I think much of it applies to boys (and adults!), too.

There is an epidemic of anxiety going on among our youth. This book will give you some starting places, great tools, and lots of food-for-thought to help you combat your kids’ anxiety.

I found so many new insights, wise advice, and practical ideas for us to implement in our home through the pages. This book is not a replacement for counseling or therapy, but it would be a fantastic starting place if you feel like your child might be struggling with anxiety.

Verdict: 4 stars

Book I Quit: Things You Save in a Fire — I started listening to this because I enjoyed one of the author’s other books. About 4-5 chapters in, I felt like it was just too fluffy and felt sort of soap-opera-ish (not to mention that it had quite a bit of language), so I returned it back to the library on my Libby app. Life’s too short to spend it on books that aren’t feeding your soul!

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

Three books I read last week (+ the classic movie we watched)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Here are the three books I finished last week…

Counterfeit Gods

The premise of the book is such a needed topic: we all have things we worship and this worship drives our decisions and actions. So often, we don’t even recognize that we are worshipping at the altar of success, money, power, approval, or lust. We often spend so much time trying to fill the holes in our hearts with things that will never satisfy. Only Jesus can satisfy.

I really, really wanted to like this book. It’s one that one of our pastors has recommended over and over again in our Discipleship Program in our church. Unfortunately, while some of the content is fantastic, I felt like the writing fell short. I haven’t read much by Timothy Keller before and I’m wondering if maybe he’s just a better speaker/preacher than writer?

Verdict: 3 stars

Eat That Frog!

I read this book back in 2011. I remember it being a worthwhile read, so when I saw that it was available to download on the Libby app, I was excited to listen to it again.

It’s a quick read, but it packs a punch. If you are looking for some actionable tips and suggestions for how to get more done and enjoy your life more, I definitely recommend this book.

One of the key takeaways is if you start the day out by doing the things you like least first, you’ll get them out of the way so you can enjoy your day more and be more productive and fulfilled.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share what I wrote about this book way back in 2011:

Eat That Frog is an excellent read and it challenged me to go into my day with the goal of doing the hardest things first. When I get the most dreaded things out of the way right off the bat, it gives me so much momentum for the rest of the day!

I’ve been trying to apply this idea to my laundry pile. Instead of letting it sit and grow to an overwhelming size, I’m trying start a load of laundry first thing in the morning, switch it to the dryer before breakfast, and then fold and put it away mid-morning. So far, I’ve not been successful at doing it this way every day, but on the days that I have done this, I’ve been amazed at how well it works.

And honestly, when I just do one load a day, I’m able to stay on top of the laundry, it never gets out of hand, and it really takes no more than 15 minutes a day to keep up with. Why has it taken me almost nine years of running my own home to figure this simple principle out?

Verdict: 4 stars

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

I have very mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand, I think it’s a book that every parent should read. It’s packed with food for thought and insightful research and perspective.

On the other hand, I felt like it was missing so much because it’s not from a Christian perspective. I agree with much of the author’s suggestions to focus on discipling your kids and loving them well instead of constantly saying no and punishing them. (This is something we talked about a lot in our foster care training and I thought it was a very valuable focus.)

However, without an understanding of the Gospel and the reason for why we teach our kids to make good choices and model wise responses, I think there’s a big gaping hole in this message.

In addition: the author takes a pretty strong stance against sending your kids to daycare, which could be discouraging for moms who truly have no other choice but to work.

These cautions aside, I do believe it is worth reading — just take what can encourage you as a parent and leave the rest!

Verdict: 3 stars

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

This past week, we watched the old version of Yours, Mine, & Ours. The kids were skeptical about it, but we all really ended up enjoying it and some of the parts were genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. They said it was one of their favorite classic movies so far.

Do note: I was surprised at how much vague innuendo was in the plotline, there is some drinking in it, and there are a few raunchy photos on the wall in a few places (you couldn’t see much; but the insinuation is there.

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Here are the two books I finished last week…

The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships

If you enjoy all things Enneagram, I definitely recommend this book. It’s an in-depth at each number on the Enneagram and how that number relates and differs with other numbers.

I found it insightful, enlightening, and just downright interesting. And while I’d studied a lot about the Enneagram, I learned quite a few new things — especially when it comes to how to better relate with other numbers, communicate with them, and help them to feel seen and valued.

It also definitely, definitely confirmed what I already knew to be true: I’m an Enneagram 8 through and through! Also, it sparked some great conversations between Jesse and me about how we interact, how certain things I do can make him want to shut down (he’s a 5), and how we’ve both grown so much healthier as people in the last 10 years.

The only thing I will mention is that if you’re new to the Enneagram, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book. Instead, I’d start with a book like, The Road Back to You.

Verdict: 4 stars

Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message

I’ve been to one of Donald Miller’s Story Brand workshops before and it made an indelible mark on how I approach marketing and communication with customers in our business. This book was a good refresher to listen to.

If you are a blogger, a business owner, an online entrepreneur, or have any say in the marketing or oversight of the company you work for, I would highly recommend this book. It will likely challenge the way you think when it comes to marketing and change the way you approach doing business.

The best part is that this book gives you a really clear-cut action plan and walks you step-by-step through out to implement it. So you don’t just read about the great ideas; you actually know how to put them into practice in your business!

Two things I did want to mention: 1) I think this book would be better to read a physical copy of than to listen to as it’s more hands-on and has projects for each chapter. 2) I was a little turned off by the multiple promotions for Story Brand products and services. I understand that the goal was likely to get people to want to invest into some of the higher priced products that Story Brand offers, but I found it to be a turn-off — and it almost merited me bumping the rating of the book down to 3 stars.

Verdict: 4 stars

Book I Didn’t Finish

The Atomic City Girls — Unfortunately, this book was a big disappointment to me. I had high hopes for it, but within an hour or so of listening, I quickly discovered it seemed more focused on the romantic story and details of that than the actual historical details of Oak Ridge. Yes, there were some historical details, but the book continued to sound more and more like a soap opera or tabloid and started going into details about the character’s loves lives that felt too edgy/raunchy for me… so I ended up quitting it. Does anyone have a book to recommend about Oak Ridge that is interesting but also much more historically rich?

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

Last week, we watched the 1950’s Disney version of Treasure Island. Both girls had read this book in school, so they found that made the movie more interesting.

It was a little slow and long (even though it was only 1 hour and 35 minutes, it felt long), but overall we mostly enjoyed it. I will say it’s probably been one of our least favorite classic movies so far.

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??