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10 Books I Read in March

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

In 2019, I’m sharing the books I read each month and what my honest thoughts were on those books. If you love books, you don’t want to miss this post! (You can see all of my book reviews for this year here.)

My Goal of 80 Books Read in 2019

I set a goal to  and a second goal that 40 of those books will be books I already own. (You can see which books I picked to read from those I already own here).

By the way, I’m truly loving  to track my reading. You all were right! It is really motivational to see my progress!

I’m excited that I made more progress on my reading goals this past month, thanks to being able to check out so many great audiobooks for free through the Libby app.

And yes, I know that some people might consider listening to an audiobook as “cheating” a little. Jesse is constantly teasing me about this. But hey, I think that any way you get a book finished is a good thing and I’m going to count it and celebrate it!

a girl at Barnes & Noble

10 Books I Finished in March

I finished 10 books in March — yay! Here’s what I read + my honest thoughts on each of the books:

I’ll be honest, this book was nothing like I expected it to be. And I almost quit listening to it after a few chapters because it was just so slow to develop and I was struggling to follow where the story was leading.

However, because it was highly recommended to me and because I have had it on my To Read list for so long, I decided to keep listening. And I’m really glad that I ended up sticking with it.

It turned out to be so different than my expectations, but it was a beautiful story with a lot of richness and depth. The author’s style wasn’t my favorite and I think it would have been hard to stick with had I been reading it (it’s a l-o-n-g book), but there was something about it that just grew on me more and more as I read it.

Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Verdict: 3 stars

I read a pre-release copy of this book because Lisa-Jo asked me to write an endorsement for it. It’s a collection of essays she wrote on various aspects of living “in the middle” — those years you’re just in the middle of the mundane or the messy.

Here’s a little info on it from the Amazon description:

The middle is the place where our lives really live. This is the place where we have grown into the shapes of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shapes of our jeans.

The middle is the marrow. The glorious ordinary of your life that utterly exhausts you but that you might have finally started to understand in ways you didn’t at the beginning. Listen, I’m not asking you to seize the day here; I’m just asking you to actually see it. Even if just out of the corner of one eye. The middle is worth remembering while you are actually living it, because you won’t pass by this way again.

So it’s worth slowing down long enough on random afternoons to really look around at your life and your husband and the human beings you are raising together and let it sink in that you’ve grown up and that it’s good. You are living at the very center of what will be your story. Right now. Let’s stop long enough to read a few lines of these lives out loud. Because trust me when I tell you, sister, the middle is worth reading.

Verdict: 3 stars

I got an email a recently from a woman who told me she has followed me online for a long time, but she’s been too scared to write in because she knows I’m a Christian and she’s afraid of what I might think of her since she’s so different than me. She felt I wouldn’t want to associate with her because of her choices, beliefs, and lifestyle.

My heart broke when I read her words. And it made me really stop and examine my heart. Am I oozing with Jesus’ love — for ALL people?

Or am I just loving those people who are most like me, who have the same beliefs or viewpoints, or who I most relate to?

If I’m truly following Jesus, I’m not just going to be hanging out with people who are like me.

I’m going to be spending a lot of time with those who are on the fringes, those who are often overlooked, and those who are very different than me.

If I say I’m following Jesus, but I’m unwilling to love those who are different than me, those who have hurt me, and those who are hard to love, I’m not truly following Jesus.

Thanks to Bob Goff for how he inspired me through his book Love Everybody, Always. While I don’t agree with all of his theology, I do 100% agree with his heart for challenging us to love others much more wholeheartedly!

My favorite quote: “If following Jesus doesn’t lead you to the poor, the lonely, and the isolated, you’re not following Jesus.”

Verdict: 4 stars

As I talk about on my recent podcast episode with Audrey and Jeremy Roloff, I actually didn’t know who they were until their publicist reached out to me a few months ago and asked if she could send me their brand-new book, .

I Googled their names (yes, I did!) and discovered that they are well known for being on the hit TV show  (which follows Jeremy’s family — and which he grew up being part of).

To be honest, I said their publicist could send me their book, , but I didn’t expect all that much from it and wasn’t planning to ask them to be on my show. (I’m super picky about who I will invite on the show and only invite people whose work/life has impacted me in a deep way.)

But then, the publicist sent the book, I read it, and I truly found it very valuable. In addition, I just loved their beautiful love story, their honesty, and how well-written the book was (in fact, I wondered if they had a ghost writer for it, but Audrey told me when she was at our house that they didn’t!)

You can listen to the podcast episode I did with Audrey and Jeremy here.

Verdict: 4 stars

You all know I’m a big fan! I have loved and been inspired by so many of his books and this book was no different!

is a sort of sequel to — which was a book I loved. (You can read my review of In a Pit here.)

Like all of Mark’s other books, this book is brimming with inspiration and quotable statements (Mark is a master wordsmith!) I also love how he weaves so many facts and interesting tidbits and stories all throughout his books.

My only reason for not giving this book 5 stars was that I felt like some of it was pretty repetitive to what I remember In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day being. In fact, until he said otherwise in the book, I thought maybe he had just re-titled the book since the material seemed so similar.

In addition, some people could take his message to mean we need to push so hard that we completely burn ourselves out to the point of exhaustion. Mark has a crazy zest for life and, what feels like, unlimited energy. So some people could feel like they need to be doing way more than they should be doing by reading this book.

Just remember to keep in mind that we all have different capacities and callings and it’s okay to move at a slower pace so long as we are pursuing our own calling. But still, I feel like there’s so much valuable inspiration in this book and I definitely recommend it!

Verdict: 4 stars

I read this book a number of years ago and loved it. Then, not too long ago, I watched they did based upon the book.

Well, after watching the movie and enjoying it, I realized I couldn’t remember enough about the book to compare the movie and the book. So, in an uncharacteristic move, I decided to read the book again.

Only this time, I listened to it (thanks to getting the audiobook for free from the Libby app). I loved that the audiobook is narrated by multiple voices. It’s so well done.

And I ultimately decided that the book is great, the movie is good, and the audiobook is very well done. So I highly recommend all three.

By the way, this novel is written entirely in the form of letters and telegrams. Considering that this book and Dear Mr. Knightley are two of my top favorite books and both are written in letter form, apparently I’m a big fan of that style of writing! (Do you know of other books written in a similar fashion? If so, I’d love to read them to see if I enjoy them as much!)

Verdict: 5 stars

I’m still not sure what I think of this novel. On the one hand, I felt like it held a lot of richness. On the other hand, it felt like there was a lot of fluff.

It’s the story of a woman who gets badly injured in a small airplane crash and who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a result. I felt that there was a lot of value in getting a peek at what it would be like to go through such a horrific experience.

I love stories that help you have a little window into what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes… or, in the case of this book, to lose your ability to walk at all.

But on the other hand, it wasn’t from a Christian perspective and it felt like it was missing so much because of this.

However, I felt like the story was well written and believable in most regards (there were a few parts that were just a little too fictionalized to feel true) and I enjoyed it overall.

(Note: This is some language and a few sections that were more PG-13.)

Verdict: 4 stars

I listened to this short book in less than two days. It has a lot of great nuggets of truth in it and many sections that made me stop and think. (Which was probably a good thing, right, since it’s a book about how successful people think? ;))

It helped me to process through a few situations in life and gave me some good perspective for those. It also encouraged me as a leader that I am approaching many areas of my life with thoughtfulness and intention.

One of my biggest takeaways was to prioritize thinking and spaces in our schedule for thinking. In fact, as a result of reading the book, I blocked off a part of one day each week as my “Thinking Time.”

This Thinking Time is time for me to just be quiet and think through certain areas of my life where I don’t have clarity. It is also time for me to pray, process, and write down thoughts and ideas.

I am already seeing a lot of benefit to this practice and am excited to watch how it impacts the rest of my year!

Verdict: 4 stars

This book was a short read written by well known podcaster, Jamie Ivey. It’s her honest journey of letting go of shame and walking into freedom.

I found some parts so thought-provoking and well-written. Other sections felt like they sort of dragged on and were repetitive. She may have purposefully repeated herself in order to drive the message home? I’m not sure, but I personally thought that it could have been edited down more than it was.

In addition, I felt like she took a long time to get into her story and it made me wonder if she was concerned she would get backlash for choices she’s made and struggles she’s had. Honestly, because of how she set it up, I was expecting her story to be much, much worse and was kind of like, “Oh! That’s all she did?!” after she shared.

(I’m kind of embarrassed to even write that that was my thought process, but it’s true! And hey, I’m all about keeping it real and honest around here. So there ya go!)

Verdict: 3 stars

Many of you are probably familiar with Sheryl Sandberg. She’s the COO of Facebook and the widely known author of . This book chronicles her personal journey with losing her husband suddenly and the steps she took after his death to survive and process such an unexpected and heart-wrenching tragedy.

While personally, I’m not sure that it’s a book to give to someone who has experienced such a great loss (I think the honesty she writes with could be incredibly painful to someone who is grieving deeply), I found her authenticity refreshing and insightful. Her words will help me better know how to walk with someone well who is grieving and how to be more mindful of how I talk to them and interact with them.

There is a little language in the book. I also felt like a little bit of her political agenda spilled through. There is nothing wrong with having or sharing a political agenda, but I personally felt like it detracted a little from the book.

Verdict: 4 stars

What have you been reading recently? Any books you think I really need to read soon? I’d love to know!

5 Unique Ways To Make Money Cleaning Your Home

Are you looking for unique ways to make money from home? Did you know that you can make a nice chunk of change just by taking stock of what you already have, staying organized, and decluttering regularly?

{Looking for other unique ways to make money? Check out our list of over 40 different income-earning ideas!}

Make money from home by cleaning and organizing

Guest post from Rebekah of :

I’ve never really loved cleaning. I love a clean room for sure, but cleaning? It’s not really my favorite.

One thing I do love, though, is finding ways to make money from home!

Did you know that you can make money cleaning your own home? Yes, you can! How’s that for cleaning motivation?

Here are some of my favorite ways to make money cleaning your own home…

1. Collect spare change

As you clean your home, make it your goal to see how much spare change you can find.

Good spots for finding random change in my home are:

  • under the couch (along with who knows what else!)
  • at the bottom of the purse and diaper bag
  • in the laundry room
  • in random pants and jacket pockets

I’ve even found a few stray bills on occasion – that’s always a big win! You might be amazed how much spare change you can collect when you intentionally look for it.

2. Make the most of your receipts

If you’re like me, you probably have way too many old receipts that need to be cleaned out. Before just throwing them all out, scan some of your recent ones into a shopping app like Ibotta or Fetch.

Take Fetch for example: You can usually get between 2-4k points just for downloading it and using it the first time. Quickly scan a couple receipts and you’ll have enough points to cash out a $5 gift card (5k points) right away!

I will say that the amount of points or dollars back that shopping apps give you tend to decrease after using the apps awhile, but they’re definitely worth downloading at least for the beginning bonuses.

3. Clean out your closet

Closets have a way of starting to overflow after a while!

Take some time to clean out your own or your kids’ closets. Pull out any clothes you no longer need and set aside the nice pieces to take to a consignment store.

I have earned an easy $10 to $25 multiple times by selling clothes we are no longer wearing!

You can also sell online through places like ThredUp or through the Poshmark app.

4. Say goodbye to books you never read

While you’re dusting your bookshelf, pull out the books you know you’ll never read again and post them for sale on Amazon.

My husband did this a few weeks ago and was amazed how many books he sold. You may not make big bucks, but every little bit helps!

5. Sort through your DVDs and Blu-rays

Ready for my favorite tip? (I’m pretty proud of this one.) My husband and I took some time last week to clean out and organize our DVD collection. We decided to put them all in an album and get rid of the cases. I don’t know why it took us so long to do this — it saves so much space!!

As I was organizing the DVDs I realized we had several Disney movies that came with both a DVD and a Blu-ray disk — and we’d never even touched the Blu-rays. We stuck the Blu-rays back in their original cases and posted them on Facebook Marketplace (obviously with the disclaimer that they did not include the DVD.) They all sold right away. Score!

6. Take stock of what you already have

This is more of a tip for saving money, but that’s just as important right?

When you’re cleaning out the space under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, take careful stock of what you already have. If you’re like me you probably have more spare toiletries and cleaning supplies hidden in there than you realized!

Taking stock of what you already have and organizing it will keep you from spending money unnecessarily!

While I still don’t love cleaning, finding ways to make money from home has definitely given me more motivation to clean!

Have you found ways to make money from home while cleaning? I’d love to hear them!

I’m Rebekah, wife to Pablo and mom to three little kiddos. I enjoy staying home with my kids, teaching English online with VIPKID, and reading new books when I get a chance. I love to write about motherhood, frugal living, and everything else that pops into my head on my blog, .

What is the Enneagram?

What is the Enneagram? In this week’s podcast, we explore what the Enneagram is and why it can make such a difference in your life and understanding of others.

Leigh Kramer and Jo

What is the Enneagram?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the Enneagram recently, so I thought it was high time we devote part of an interview to explaining what it is and why it can make such a difference to understand.

Truly, understanding the Enneagram has changed so much of my perspective on life and has improved my relationships, my compassion toward others, and has helped me to embrace the way that I am wired and see it as a gift, instead of something to be embarrassed about.

a photo of the enneagram

My friend and virtual assistant,  is joining me to share more because she’s passionate about the Enneagram and she has helped me to process through what my number is and why it matters.

Leigh will explain each of the nine Enneagram types, as well as how to figure out what yours is (and why taking online tests isn’t the best way) and how this knowledge can help you become a healthier person.

In This Podcast Episode:

[00:25] – I just got back home from helping out at a 7th and 8th grade camp in Kentucky… where I shared a cabin with 20 other girls/women and we had a cereal party, karaoke, and even glow-in-the-dark dodgeball.

[03:37] – My kids have testing this week so they wanted me to make homemade energy bites. We love these so much!

[05:06] – I have a confession to make: I didn’t read a single book last week. Can you believe it? But I share an app/site that’s been helping me stay more motivated to read (which might sound funny since I didn’t finish any books last week! But listen in for more details!)

[09:08] – Ready for better mornings? Try my free !

[09:56] – I’m excited to have  joining me today for a conversation about the Enneagram!

[12:47] – How did Leigh first discover what the Enneagram is and why is she so passionate about it?

[14:57] – For listeners who are new to the Enneagram, Leigh explains more of the history of the Enneagram and what each of the nine types are.

[18:35] – One of the things I love most about understanding what the Enneagram is that it gives you a path to being more emotionally healthy as a person.

[19:59] – What’s the best way to determine what enneagram type you are? Leigh talks about why online tests often give inaccurate results and what she recommends instead of taking a test.

[23:16] – Leigh is one of the most voracious readers I know. She shares why she reads so much two books she’s finished and loved recently. She also shares something that’s saving her life right now: the !

[28:04] – Ready for today’s Q&A segment? It’s all about setting goals, specifically whether Jesse also does monthly goals (like I do).

[33:31] – If you need practical help with setting goals, check out our .

[34:24] – Do you have a question of your own? Or feedback or suggestions? Email Crystal at [email protected]!

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Jo Show

The podcast is available on, , , and . You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for .)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Jo Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Get 15 Days to a Healthier You for just $7.50!

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Easiest Homemade Easter Candy Recipe (Easter Basket Idea!)

Note from Crystal: I’m so excited to have my youngest sister, Olivia, sharing this fun homemade Easter candy recipe — a spring variation on our family’s favorite homemade Christmas Candy recipe! We typically make this candy to give as gifts during the Christmas season, but I never thought of the brilliant idea to make it for Easter baskets!

Looking for non-candy Easter basket ideas? Check out this Easy Homemade Slime Recipe that my daughter loves making!

Easiest Homemade Easter Candy Recipe

Looking for unique and different Easter basket ideas this year? This homemade Easter candy recipe is sure to be a hit with your kids!

This delicious recipe is a spin-off of Crystal’s incredible Christmas candy recipe — and if you’re a white chocolate lover like me, you might end up actually liking this one better than the original! 😉

(Not a fan of white chocolate? Just use milk or dark chocolate chips instead, but don’t forget to put on the festive colorful sprinkles!)

ingredients to make homemade Easter candy

This recipe is SO easy to make and only uses a few ingredients! It’s hard to believe this recipe could be so yummy with just these few ingredients, but it really is.

There’s just something about the concoction of crackers, chewy caramel, and chocolate! YUM!

layered Easter candy in a pan

I brought a bowl of these to a recent family gathering, and not only did the kids absolutely love it, but the adults raved about it, too!

This is a super simple dessert that you could totally use for Easter Sunday, if you want something a little different than usual. Just make a big batch ahead of time and you’re ready to go.

white chocolate chips on top of layered Easter candy in a pan
And it’s SO easy to make ahead of time, because it keeps really well in the freezer. I recommend making a batch and breaking it up into individual baggies to freeze for later.

Then just pull a baggie out when you’re ready to use it for a get-together or Easter basket!

white chocolate Easter candy with sprinkles

I love the fun colors of the sprinkles — and this recipe is really perfect for just about any spring parties or get-togethers! You could even use them as frugal end-of-the-year teacher gifts.

crumbled homemade Easter candy

This homemade Easter candy recipe will add such a personal touch to a kids’ Easter basket — even if it’s the only thing in it! You could even make some of this Homemade Slime to add a little non-candy gift to the mix!

close-up photo of broken Easter candy with sprinkles

Easter candy packages for an Easter basket

Related Links:

What other unique Easter basket ideas do you have? I’d love to hear in the comments!