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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?

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  • Monica says:

    I’m determined to make more time to read this year! My husband and I are reading Finish this week! I’ve gotten so many bits of wisdom from it. I’ve scanned your current and past book lists and have several lined up! Thanks for sharing!

  • Amy Smith says:

    We have been watching the Great British Bake Off – the seasons are out of order on Netflix, but we enjoy watching the creativity and it’s giving me more of a desire to step outside of my comfort zone in baking.
    I am one that LOVES Gilmore Girls, but I was not a fan of the Year in the Life. ☕️ There were some parts that I enjoyed, but it was so different than the show. It’s a series I can watch and rewatch multiple times.
    My husband and I decided to start a reading challenge. Neither one of us has read many books since we’ve been married, but a Barnes & Noble gift card at the end of the challenge gives us more motivation. I’ve started Paul Tripp’s book “Parenting” as my first choice and I’ve been challenged from the beginning. Chapter 2 is about grace, not just past grace and future grace, but grace for the moment. It’s had me in tears, and desiring a heart change in myself. It’s a very good book. ??

  • Carol says:

    The Mom Set Free book looks good! I’ll have to take a look at that.

    My husband and I watched Gilmore Girls and were unimpressed with the last two seasons as well as the newer episodes. I did not like what they did with Rory’s character. Not the best role model for young girls! I was bummed because I had such hopes for her in the earlier episodes. Oh well.

    I’d like to check out This Is Us, and now that we have Roku, I believe I can watch old episodes. Does your husband enjoy this? We’re currently watching Heartland on Netflix and we love it – very PG, nothing graphic, no bad language. But gosh, trying to choose our next “binge watch” is proving challenging, because it’s so hard to find “clean” TV shows anymore. I miss the days of “Family Ties” and “Growing Pains”! (Child of the 80s here).

    • Jo says:

      We both love This is Us. It’s a little edge-y and the beginning episode might make you think it’s going to be edgier than it is. But I’m glad we kept watching because the character development is truly beautiful and it’s become one of our very favorite shows.

    • Jb says:

      Try when calls the heart. I am not normally a fan of super sweet predictable tv, but I’m a HUGE fan of wholesome. When calls the heart is so sweet, kinda predictable, but charming and funny. I love it. It’s a nice break from the cares of this world. 🙂

      • Carol says:

        I have This Is Us and When Calls the Heart on my list. I am all about sweet and predictable. I’m a Hallmark junkie! I can’t watch violent, graphic shows. I’m an HSP (highly sensitive person). I believe Crystal has mentioned being HSP.

  • Gina says:

    My hubby watches Arrow, but I never was interested. Maybe I will give it a try… he would love that!

    • Jo says:

      I didn’t think I would like it since it didn’t seem like my type of show!

      • Erin says:

        We watched Arrow for several seasons…just a warning, you may not like where it takes you in later seasons. We ended up stopping instead of keeping up with it. Are you watching with your kids? It’s definitely NOT kid-friendly. After season 2, the plot gets pretty “out there” we watched all the way to season 4 and regretted it…. I would suggest the Flash instead. It’s cleaner and generally safer…Barry Allen is a more admirable guy.

  • Kelly Pallesen says:

    Reading “Parenting” by Paul Tripp and “The Emotionally Healthy Church” by Peter Scazzero. Highly recommend both!
    I’ve already read two fiction books this month, “The Light Between Oceans” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”. Both were good, but sad. I finished them feeling very melancholy. And Half of a Yellow Sun had some sexual content in it, so fair warning. Still a great read though. I tend to fly through fiction books and take my time through non-fiction.

    I also watched This Is Us (SO good), and I also started watching a new show called The Brave.

  • Kelly P says:

    I’m reading Parenting by Paul Tripp and The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. I highly recommend both!
    I’ve already two fiction books this month, The Light Between Oceans and Half of a Yellow Sun. Both were really good, although very sad. I finished them feeling very melancholy. I would still recommend them though. Half of a Yellow Sun does have some sexual content, so fair warning.
    I also watched This Is Us (SO good) and The Brave (also really good!).

  • Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    My husband and I definitely loved Arrow. I don’t normally like shows like that, however this one I liked. Without giving spoilers, I stopped watching at season 5 due to a break up and it made me mad ?

    One day I’ll finish from there, but it’s been 6 months and I’m still mad! However, I really did love it!!!

    • Jo says:

      Now I’m wondering whether I should keep watching or just quit now! 🙂

      • T2Nashville says:

        Crystal – what Heather said! I kept watching a bit after Season 5, but it just got so ridiculous that I lost my love for the characters. Stick with it until then, but don’t feel bad about stopping when you aren’t interested anymore. I did the same with Arrow and Flash – loved them completely the first few seasons, and then it’s like the writers ran out of material. When Flash did a musical, that was jump the shark for me! 🙂

      • Heather says:

        Oh Definitely keep watching! It’s so good!

        But I agree with T2Nashville, don’t feel bad about stopping.

  • Christina Street says:

    Our whole family loves Arrow! We have watched it from the start, as well as the other DC shows on CD.

  • kristen w says:

    if you liked (most of) gilmore girls, you should also check out the tv show, parenthood (the actress, lauren graham, who played lorelai gilmore is in it too !).

    a couple of movies that i watched recently and really liked – lion and split (very interesting movie by m. night shyamalan).

    i’ve been trying to make my way (i’m about halfway) through hillbilly elegy since i’ve heard so much about it – pretty good so far.

  • Laraine says:

    I really loved the first five seasons of Gilmore Girls too! The writer wasn’t there for the last two seasons so the quality of the show went down. A Year in the Life Spring, Winter were a huge disappointment. I only liked the fall episode. Amy Sherman- Palladino has a new show on Amazon called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It has a great cast of characters if you can get past some cursing and a brief bare breasted scene.

  • Melinda Donley says:

    My husband and I LOVE Arrow! If you like it, you should also watch The Flash. There are some overlapping characters and plots between the two later on. Arrow gets pretty dark a few seasons in but then redeems itself with the latest season, so don’t give up 🙂 I love super hero shows. Smallville is my all time favorite!!

  • RO says:

    Yay! Glad you’re getting some in to read, which can relaxing. I wondered about the Simone Biles story, and glad you enjoyed it. Mom Set Free sounds really interesting. As a serious book nerd, I’m that person who gets on your nerves because I keep 1 or 2 books with me all the time. (lol) I’m reading Bobby Flay Fit, and Demon Crown by James Rollins. I’ve been watching suspense stories on Netflix along with cooking programs that have people traveling to different countries to taste new flavors. It’s been fascinating. Still haven’t been able to get into This is Us yet. So thrilled to see you keeping your resolution to change things up on your already fantastic blog. Hugs…RO

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for your kind encouragement! And YES! I’m excited that I’ve stuck with my plan — and it’s getting close to the end of January!!

  • Janice says:

    I binge-watched all of Arrow, and I really liked it. It does get a little annoying later on because he is just so brooding and angry. After that I watched The Flash and loved it! It is a much more lighthearted super hero series. On to Super Girl now…

  • Swapna Krishnan says:

    I loved the first 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls but started to lose interest as Rory entered college. I also was not a big fan of Year in the life. I liked watching the first season of Arrow but after that it started to feel a little dark for me.

    Try watching Smallville if you haven’t already seen it – I loved that show. Have you seen Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? Very family friendly to watch with kids and it’s one of my all-time favorites shows that I can watch again and again and never get bored.

    I started watching Designated Survivor after you recommended it and am loving it. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  • Laura in NC says:

    My kids and I were sick for a week so at night we started watching When Calls The Heart. My kids begged to keep watching more. Needless to say we fell in love with this show. We are now looking forward to season 5. It’s nice to have a show you can watch with the entire family. I was excited to see a commenter above mention Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. We will check that one out!

  • Mandy says:

    I need to add Mom Set Free to my to read list! If you like overcomer type biographies, Jimmy Wayne’s Walk to Beautiful is really great. He is the man who wrote and sings Paper Angels.

  • Mrs. MLM says:

    I have been a fan of Gilmore Girls for years, since it was on air. I had all the seasons on DVD and I would rewatch them as I did chores, cooked, organized, when I was sick, etc. Year in the Life ruined it for me. I haven’t rewatched any of it on Netflix and I gave away the DVDs. It’s hard to describe, but I had been viewing the series one way for years and Year in the Life changed it all for me. It was very disappointing.

  • Dana says:


    My family and I used to watch Arrow. After a few seasons, we started questioning the content. My husband and sat down with our older teens and discussed what the show is communicating and after much talking, we quit watching it. Even as adults, there were some things that were just questionable.

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