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Tag Archive: Book Reviews

What I Read & Watched This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year.

Since we were in the middle of moving, I didn’t do much reading or watching this past week. But I did stay up too late a few nights watching the Olympics (I think I’m too old for the Olympics — especially if they are going to be showing all of the best stuff LIVE at 10-11:30 p.m.!) and I also read 5 Months Apart: Facing Infertility With Faith and Grace.

Someone in my life is currently walking through some of the things in this book and I thought it would be insightful to read. While the book kind of skips around in the storyline and I think it could have used tighter editing, I still think it would be a valuable read if you are facing unexplained infertility, in the middle of fertility treatments or the adoption process, and/or know someone who is.

The author doesn’t sugarcoat struggle involved with infertility and fertility treatments, as well as the adoption process. She doesn’t give pat answers or cliche phrases. She addresses the very real and raw pain that infertility causes and miscarriage can cause and gives you better understanding for women who are walking this road.

How I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies you really think I need to read or watch?

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

9 Books I Read in January

I ended up reading 9 books in January — and most were from my list of 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year! And I’m definitely on track to hit my goal of reading 100 non-self-help books in 2018!

1. Destination Simple

Destination Simple was a very quick read and a good reminder of ways to slow down and simplify. It was perfect for my Year of Slow.

2. The Lucky Few

The Lucky Few was a book that the publisher sent to me back in March when it was released. It sat on my shelf untouched since then and I almost got rid of it since I didn’t know anything about the authors.

I’m SO glad that I decided to add it to my list of 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year because it was such a heart-warming read. If you’ve ever considered adoption, if you’ve struggled with infertility, or if you’ve been called to a road that you would have never planned or really thought you wanted, I think this book’s story will encourage you.

3. And It Was Beautiful

And It Was Beautiful is written by the late Kara Tippetts — a blogger who passed away from cancer a few years ago. It’s beautifully written, moving, and inspiring.

It really challenged me in how I mother. Am I embracing the everyday, ordinary moments? So much of the time, I think that I miss a lot of moments because I’m not not slowing down enough to see them.

One of Kara’s quotes really impacted me: “Keep short accounts and don’t find offenses that aren’t there.” She wrote this on her blog in a post titled, “Five Thoughts on Dying Well.” She prefaced it by saying, “Live with deep forgiveness to share and honest repentance with those you love.”

It’s so easy to harbor anger or hurt or bitterness when we’ve been wronged by others, but none of those responses will produce healthy results in our lives long term. Choose forgiveness — it’s the path to healing, freedom, and joy.

4. You Are Free

I have looked forward to reading You Are Free for a long time since its message is one God has really been working in my heart over the past few years. While it was different than what I was expecting and didn’t go as deep as I was hoping for, there were definitely some truth bombs in it.

I shared a quote here and some thoughts that were inspired by this book here.

5. Courage to Soar

Courage to Soar was an easy read (written more for teens and pre-teens), but it was pretty interesting to hear her backstory. As she appeared so confident and happy at the Olympics, it was insightful, and (dare I say?) encouraging, to read of all of the struggles she went through to get there.

It’s so easy to watch someone perform flawless routines and just assume they have natural talent and forget that there is so much hard work that has gone on behind-the-scenes to get to that place where it looks effortless.

Overall, the book was pretty well written and a fast read. It was a little “fluff-y”, but it had some good nuggets of wisdom and inspiration throughout it and I think it might be a great book to give to your daughters or a great book to read if you love gymnastics or are fascinated with Olympic athletes in general (I fit into both of those categories!)

6. Not a Fan

Our Community Group is going through the Not a Fan book together and I was supposed to read a few more chapters of it for our group discussion two weeks ago… but then I started reading and just kept reading and reading.

It really challenged me in a lot of powerful ways. I didn’t agree with all of it and I thought some of the humor was just overboard cheesy, but many of his questions really challenged me in my walk with Christ.

Here’s one quote I loved: “When we try to follow Jesus without being filled daily with the Spirit, we find ourselves frustrated by our failures and exhausted by our efforts.”

And another: “The keyword for grace is ‘done’. Our punishment was taken by Christ. He has made a way where there was no way so we live with a freedom and appreciation for what has been done. Fans are all about the ‘do’, but followers celebrate the ‘done’.” 

7. Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time since I had heard that it was similar to Dear Mr. Knightley — one of my favorite books! Well, I am sad to say that it was a big disappointment to me. Skip this book and read Dear Mr. Knightley instead.

8. A Daring Escape

I have really loved some of Tricia Goyer’s other World War II novels (The Liberator series were all ones I enjoyed), but A Daring Escape just seemed like it was lacking depth to me.

I had guessed a good deal of the plot before I was a third of the way through the book and, while it was enjoyable and had some beautiful parts, it just seemed so-so and not one of my favorites of hers.

9. Mom Set Free

Mom Set Free is my top pick from January. Y’all, this book is SO good. I slowly savored it — reading just a little bit every day — to make it last as long as I could and to really soak in the truths from it.

If you struggle with Mommy Guilt or feel like you are always failing or never doing enough or just can’t get it right as a mom, this book will encourage you in powerful ways!

I shared more how this quote impacted me on Instagram:

It’s not the perfect parenting book. Or the right chore chart. Or whether we feed our kids enough organic food. Or if we homeschool. Or if we give our kids enough opportunities. Or if we protect them enough…

We can’t save our kids, bubble wrap our kids, fix our kids, or transform their hearts.

We can sure exhaust ourselves trying, though. We can stress and worry over them. We can feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their actions. We can live in fear over their futures.

But none of that accomplishes anything worthwhile.

There is one thing we CAN do and that is to pray. And I believe it’s one of the greatest things we can do on behalf of our kids

Because — as I am learning anew — prayer changes us. One thing I try to do almost every day is to I start my day on the treadmill running & praying over the day and praying for Jesse and each of my kids.

It’s an important piece of my day… to acknowledge my need for God’s help in my parenting, to pray for specific areas where my kids are struggling, to thank God for how He’s working in their hearts, to release my stresses and frustrations in parenting to God, and to ask Him to give me grace to love each of my kids in a way that makes them feel loved.

I’ve noticed that this time in prayer for my kids not only calms me and helps me to rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross, it also changes my heart and attitude toward my kids, too. You see, I’m much more apt to respond to them in grace and love when I’ve just prayed that I can love them well and walk with them well! ?

Here was another quote I loved that really impacted me and here was yet another quote. Suffice it to say, this was hands down my favorite book I read in January and one that I highly, highly recommend!

I’m also excited to say that I kept up with the Bible in a Year Plan! I’m using the Bible reading plan from Robert Murray M’Cheyne that is at the back of the She Reads Truth Bible.

How I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read in January? What book or books were your favorite?

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

What I Read & Watched This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year.

What I Read Last Week

Last week, I read Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Our Community Group is going through this book together and I was supposed to read a few more chapters of it for our group discussion… but then I started reading and just kept reading and reading.

It really challenged me in a lot of powerful ways. I didn’t agree with all of it and I thought some of the humor was just overboard cheesy, but many of his questions really challenged me in my walk with Christ.

Here’s one quote I loved: “When we try to follow Jesus without being filled daily with the Spirit, we find ourselves frustrated by our failures and exhausted by our efforts.”

And another: “The keyword for grace is ‘done’. Our punishment was taken by Christ. He has made a way where there was no way so we live with a freedom and appreciation for what has been done. Fans are all about the ‘do’, but followers celebrate the ‘done’.” 

Jesse and I are headed on a fun trip to NYC Tuesday and Wednesday (follow me on Instagram if you want to see some peeks into what we’ll be up to while we’re there!), so here’s the stack of books I’m bringing with me. Yes, I’m pretty much always over-prepared and overly-ambitious when it comes to books, but hey, at least I never have to stress about killing time if there’s a flight delay! 😉

What I Watched Last Week

Jesse and I went to see Jumanji last week. We’d heard mixed reviews from friends and wanted to see it before taking our kids. Sadly, we were disappointed with the movie. It had a lot of inappropriate lines in it and it wasn’t really even that funny. So yeah, we nixed the idea of taking the kids.

(By the way, we got MoviePasses for Christmas and we have fallen in love with them. You just can’t beat $10 per month to be able to see one movie of your choice every single day. Read my in-depth review of MoviePass here.)

This week, we continued watching Arrow. We’re really enjoying the show so far. I’ve heard that it gets darker and not as enjoyable as it goes along, but currently, we’re really enjoying it! (Note: This is definitely more of a PG-13 type of show.)

We also loved watching the next episode of This is Us — I can’t stop talking about what an amazing show that is!

Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies you really think I need to read or watch?

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

What I Read & Watched This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year.

What I Read Last Week

This week, I finished reading Courage to Soar by Simone Biles. It was an easy read (written more for teens and pre-teens), but it was pretty interesting to hear her backstory. As she appeared so confident and happy at the Olympics, it was insightful, and (dare I say?) encouraging, to read of all of the struggles she went through to get there.

It’s so easy to watch someone perform flawless routines and just assume they have natural talent and forget that there is so much hard work that has gone on behind-the-scenes to get to that place where it looks effortless.

Overall, the book was pretty well written and a fast read. It was a little “fluff-y”, but it had some good nuggets of wisdom and inspiration throughout it and I think it might be a great book to give to your daughters or a great book to read if you love gymnastics or are fascinated with Olympic athletes in general (I fit into both of those categories!)

I’m also slowly reading — and absolutely loving — Mom Set Free. I love it so much that a new friend and I started doing a book study on it last Saturday. I can already tell it is going to be so good to read through it and discuss it with another mom!

What I Watched Last Week

Jesse and I didn’t get to go see a movie this past week because the kids were home from school due to the snow AND because the theater was closed due to the snow. We’re hoping to find time to catch a movie this coming week.

(By the way, we got MoviePasses for Christmas and we have fallen in love with them. You just can’t beat $10 per month to be able to see one movie of your choice every single day. Read my in-depth review of MoviePass here.)

In the mean time, I finished watching all of Gilmore Girls — including the new Year in the Life. Sad to say, I just was really disappointed with the last few seasons of Gilmore Girls and the Year in the Life version.

I thought the last few episodes and the Year in the Life version were mostly boring and I was disappointed with choices that the characters made. I watched it while doing other things, otherwise, it would have been too boring to just sit and watch (sorry to all of you Gilmore Girls fans!). I really did love the first few seasons. I kind of wish they had just stopped after those… and I am second-guessing my decision to finish out the whole show.

This week, we also started watching Arrow. I totally surprised myself by really enjoying the show. We’re only 6 episodes in, so I can’t speak from great experience, but so far, we’re enjoying it. Have you watched it? (Note: This is definitely more of a PG-13 type of show.)

We also loved watching the next episode of This is Us — I can’t stop talking about what an amazing show that is!

How I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies you really think I need to read or watch?

3 Books I’m Reading This Week + 1 Book I Read Last Week

3 Books I'm Reading This Week

Many of you have requested that I share more book posts — what I’m reading, what I’m reading with my kids, and reviews of books that I’ve read. I can’t promise to do a post every week on this, but I’m going to try to do a better job of more consistently sharing what I’m reading — since I really enjoy getting great book recommendations from others!

3 Books I’m Reading This Week

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis — I’m about 75% through this one and am not sure whether it’s beautiful or weird…. The jury’s still out on that!

Rest Assured by Vicki Courtney — I just started this book and I think I’m going to really enjoy it and it’s going to be perfect for my Year of Rest!

All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin — I have really enjoyed many other books by Lynn Austen, but I’ve not read one of her books for awhile, so I’m excited to dig into another good fiction book.

What I'm Reading This Week

What We’re Reading Aloud

Johnny Tremain — This is our read aloud for our homeschool curriculum (Sonlight) and while it took us awhile to get into it (it starts out slow and takes its time developing the story plot and characters) and there’s a bit of coarse language in it, we’re really enjoying it.

What I Read Last Week

It’s Not What You Think — This book was deep and made me really think and reconsider many different things from a new perspective. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I found so many thought-provoking nuggets throughout it.

What are YOU reading right now? What have you read recently? Any great recommendations?

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

Failure is Hard. The End.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Today we’re talking about chapters 1 and 2 of Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

I’m only two chapters in and I’m already loving this book so much. In fact, it is exactly what I need to be reading right now.

The introduction stopped me in my tracks. Especially when she talks about how we sometimes sugar coat failure and dismiss how hard and painful it can be.

I loved this quote:

“But embracing failure without acknowledging the real hurt and fear that it can cause, or the complex journey that underlies rising strong, is gold-plating grit. To strip failure of its real emotional consequences is to scrub the concepts of grit and resilience of the very qualities that make them both so important — toughness, doggedness, and perseverance.”

This last year has been hard. It’s been full of heavy things and stretching things for me as a business owner.

I started the year with gusto. I was pumped and excited.

We had a plan. We had put some great things into place. We had streamlined some things, changed up some positions, and brought in some reinforcements in areas where we were weak. And it looked like it was going to be an amazing year.

And then things got hard. Stuff didn’t pan out like we expected. I made some big mistakes. Others on my team made some big mistakes. There were miscommunications. There was tension. And I struggled to know how to lead in what turned out to be some very difficult situations.

I can’t share the details of these situations because they involve people other than me and this is not the place or time for that, but suffice it to say, it’s been rough.

I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to walk away from it all. But I felt like I needed to stay strong, fight through, and push forward. Wasn’t that what a good leader does?

So I put on my brave face, I stuffed down those feelings of hurt and frustration, and I pressed forward… all the while reeling from the weight of it all.

When you just want to give up and throw in the towel

But yesterday, as I read the first two chapters of Rising Strong, I felt this weight come off my shoulders. That I don’t need to try to stuff it in and suck it up. That it’s okay to acknowledge how hard this past year has been for me, how disappointed I’ve felt over the setbacks and crumbled dreams, how mentally and emotionally exhausting it’s been, and how lonely it has felt at times.

I’m writing this, not because I’m asking for pity, but because I want to share how this book is impacting me on a very personal level. And also because I think it’s easy to look at someone like me and think that, “It must be nice to be so successful.”

Honestly, the success that has come over the past few years has also brought some of the greatest pain with it. The pain of losing people you thought were your friends because they were jealous over opportunities you were given. The pain of being talked about like you’re some sort of object. The pain of people misunderstanding and criticizing decisions you made. The pain of betrayal. The pain of having your parenting choices and life choices being raked over the coals and ripped apart…

Success truly does comes with its own set of hard things. 

And while I want to focus on my blessings and walk in the confidence that I am enough, Brene’s book is challenging me to also be more honest about how much some of this pain has hurt.

I don’t need to write blog posts about these things, but I do need to acknowledge this personally and to my inner circle of friends. I need to have safe places where I can be completely vulnerable — without having to feel like I need to sugar coat or stuff anything.

Sometimes, Courage is Just Showing Up

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Did you read the first two chapters of Rising Strong? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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