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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

 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

 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

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 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 and some thoughts that were inspired by this book .

5. 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 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

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

8. A Daring Escape

I have really loved some of  (The Liberator series were all ones I enjoyed), but 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

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 :

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! 😉

that really impacted me and . 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 .

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?

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21 Comments

  • Kim Carlile says:

    I’ve never read Dear Mr. Knightley, but I loved Daddy Longlegs. I thought it was sweet, endearing, and adorable. It makes me sad to hear you tell readers to skip it.

    • Jo says:

      Dear Mr. Knightley was just SO much better! 🙂

      • Sarah G says:

        I read Daddy Long Legs for the same reason and felt the same way. I did wonder if I’d read Daddy Long Legs first and didn’t know so much about the plot by proxy if I would have enjoyed it more.

        Love that quote about motherhood. I’ll be chewing on that today!

        • Jo says:

          I wondered the same thing! I think I had such high hopes for Daddy Longlegs after reading the reviews on Amazon and all the people who said it was so much like Dear Mr. Knightley!

    • Amy says:

      I just started Daddy Long Legs last night. A local community theater group did a production recently and it was so wonderful that I wanted to read the book now. I’m sorry that you didn’t care for it. Since I know the story I know that I will approach it differently and I can envision the voice of the characters as well.
      I’ve not read Dr. Mr. Knightley yet but will add that to my list.

      • Jo says:

        Just to clarify: It wasn’t that I didn’t like it — it just paled in comparison to Dear Mr. Knightley. I had high hopes for it and it just didn’t live up to my hopes.

    • Jody says:

      I don’t think you can compare them like that. Daddy Long Legs was written a century before (1912) in very different times. I read it back in the 80s as a preteen and remember it with delight. I almost didn’t read Dear Mr. Knightly because the premise sounded so similar. I finally did read it and enjoyed it.

  • Ann says:

    Sorry for being off topic, but I just love the color of your nails in that picture!

  • says:

    I’m so very glad that you read a large number of books each month! Sometimes I feel like people think I”m so strange to read four books in a month which really isn’t that much. 🙂
    This month I read:
    Parenting by Paul David Tripp
    Red Hot Monogamy-finally got up the nerve to check this one out of the library. I think you suggested it a while ago. 🙂 Glad I read it!
    All the Light We Cannot See
    A Simplified Life
    The Austen Escape-also a recommendation from you. 🙂

    I shared short reviews on my blog here:

    Thanks for sharing your books! Have you ever read any of the Sally Michael books with your children?

  • Beth says:

    I’m so looking forward to The Lucky Few. After a decade of unexplained secondary infertility, my husband and I welcomed home our son through adoption in December. He too has a genetic condition. Listening to the author read the first chapter on Amazon (the sample) was amazing and just the encouragement that we needed! Thanks for bringing book to my attention!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m reading Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldridge with my Bible study group and loving the deep questions in the study guide. I think you’d love it too!

  • Emily says:

    In January I read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay! Both great reads! I’m starting February off with the second book in the Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin called Fire by Night. I have read several of Austin’s books (Eve’s Daughters being my favorite), and these historical fiction books set during Civil War America have been wonderful!

  • Courtney says:

    In January, I read “The Road from Coorain” (a memoir of growing up in Australia around WW II time), “Men Are Like Waffles — Women Are Like Spaghetti,” and “The Life and Times of Thunderbolt Kid.” At the beginning of 2018, I made a goal of reading at least one book a month (since I’m a stay-at-home mommy with a 14-month-old). Once that goal was written down, I far exceeded it!

    Really enjoyed all these books, but “Thunderbolt Kid” had a lot of unnecessary foul language. I’m hoping to continue reading different types of books throughout the year — fiction, self-improvement, autobiography, etc.

  • Desiree says:

    Thank you for the suggestions! I definitely need to read ‘Mom Set Free.’ It sounds like that book will step all. over. my. toes! Have you read ‘Safely Home’ by Randy Alcorn? If not i HIGHLY recommend it! It’s fiction but it messed me up in so many ways (good ways). I wish everyone would read it!

  • Sara Weiss says:

    I try to read 60 books a year or more. I’m behind this year by one according to the Goodreads app. I enjoy reading your posts even though we read very different types of books.

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