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13 Jan 2019   ·   48

The Top 4 Books I Read in 2018

Want to know what my Top Favorite Books were that I read in 2018? Well, of the 70 books I read, I picked 4 favorites. These were the four that impacted me the most and are the ones that I will carry lessons from for years to come.

By the way, I realized in looking back over the books I read this past year that I didn’t do a good job of tracking all of them that I read… and that this was the first year where I didn’t feel like I had hard time narrowing the list down to only 10 titles. In fact, as I looked over all of the books I read the past few weeks, there were only four titles I knew needed to for sure be on this list.

I’m not sure if I only came up with 4 titles because I didn’t track what I read as well as I usually do so I’m forgetting about a few titles that I read (but I feel like if I’m forgetting them, then they likely didn’t deeply impact me, right?), or because I didn’t read self-help books, or because I read fewer books this past year than I often do, or because I just picked lots of meh titles?

At any rate, in 2019, I’m finally switching over to to track my reading. I’ve been really impressed with it so far and am excited about using it to keep a log of what I’m reading, my thoughts on the books, and to see my reading progress.

I’m not sure if my account is public? If it is, you can . (I decided that I don’t think I’m going to accept friend requests on it, just because I don’t want to use it like social media, but just to track what I read. Can you if you’re not my friend? I wasn’t sure on that. Let me know — I’m new to GoodReads, clearly!)

1.

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 such a good read and one that I highly, highly recommend!

Note: You can listen to  the author and I did together on .

2. Chasing Excellence

I randomly picked up this book called  from a search on Amazon. I didn’t even know who Ben Bergeron was when I bought the book.

I just was so inspired by watching the athletes at the CrossFit Games that I went on Amazon and searched for, “CrossFit athletes”. It pulled up Tia-Clair Toomey’s book and then Chasing Excellence was recommended, too.

It’s rare that Amazon steers me really wrongly, so when I read the premise for  and thought it sounded intriguing and worth reading, I bought the book.

Little did I know that this book was going to become the basis for my word for 2019!

This book was one of those that you wanted to read both quickly and slowly. Quickly, because you wanted to gobble it all up as it was so good. Slowly, because you wanted to savor it as it was so good and you didn’t want it to end.

For those who are unfamiliar with the author like I was, Ben Bergeron, is a coach to some of the world’s most well known CrossFit athletes. If you love CrossFit, you must read this book. But even if you don’t care a tiny bit about CrossFit, this book is packed with nuggets of truth and inspiration.

The entire time I was reading , I was so inspired and moved and challenged. And instinctively, I knew I wanted to pick the word EXCELLENCE for 2019.

But it also scared me a lot. Wouldn’t this go against everything I had been learning and growing in? Wasn’t my heart’s desire to continue to work on savoring life, not living life at breakneck speed, and not feeling like I needed to hustle and climb a ladder to success?

And yet, I couldn’t get this word out of my mind and heart. So I took September and October to mull over it.

I realized there were many areas in my life where I was settling for mediocrityI wasn’t intentionally pursuing excellence; I was just doing what I’d done for a long time because it was getting me by.

I had gotten stuck in a lot of ruts. They weren’t terrible ruts; but they were ruts and I wasn’t seeing a lot of forward momentum. I also wasn’t feeling super excited and motivated in many parts of my life — especially as a business owner, in some of my personal disciplines and habits, and when it came to growing as a person.

Yes, I wasn’t failing (in most areas). Yes, I was doing a decent job (in most areas).

But do I want to just do a decent job at life? Or do I want to pursue excellence?

Y’all, I want to pursue excellence. And so, it was decided: My word for 2019 is EXCELLENCE. And I’m really excited about it!

Note: Read more about why I chose the word excellence and how I want to walk it out in my life here.

3.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It addresses rest from a very different perspective than other books I’ve read on this topic and I loved how it wasn’t just about getting more sleep or slowing down or taking a Sabbath.

This book is written by a doctor (Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith) and I thought the author’s medical background shed a lot of wisdom on the topic of rest and how being well rested impacts our lives.

However, what really stood out to me in this book was the author’s differentiation between the types of rest we need — physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest. I had never heard rest and our need for the different kinds of rest broken into these categories and I found it very insightful.

In fact, it helped me to understand why I can feel drained sometimes — even if I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. I might not be rested in other areas such as getting creative rest or sensory rest or social rest.

And I loved the practical suggestions that the book gave for ways to recognize which kinds of rest you are lacking in and how to get more of each kind of rest in your life.

Note: Listen to with the author on .

4.

My friend, Melissa, gave me this book and said it had really impacted her life. I hadn’t heard of it before and wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it.

Then I started reading… and within a few chapters, I knew it was going to be one of those really life-changing books. The book is all about how our emotional and spiritual health are so tied together and how we often overlook this.

The author talks about how often we seem to think that our past and our baggage and all the things we try to pretend don’t exist or stuff down or not deal with won’t affect us in the long run… but it will!

There are so many things I gleaned from this book and so many sections that challenged me in deep ways. I feel like I will be processing its message for a long time to come.

One of the areas in the book that really encouraged me was to recognize how much the changes I’ve made in the last two years to slow down and savor life more. I realize how these changes have truly allowed me to become so much healthier as a person — physically, mentally, and spiritually.

There were numerous quotes that I loved from the book, but one that :

“True freedom comes when we no longer need to be somebody special in other people’s eyes because we know we are lovable and good enough.”

In Christ, we are enough. We are loved. We are redeemed. We are forgiven.

When we live in light of this truth, we can walk in amazing freedom and confidence — and we can love other people so much more deeply and authentically.

I’ll be back in the next week to share my list of 40 books I plan to read in 2019. Stay tuned!

What were YOUR favorite books from 2018? Any books you really think I should read in 2019? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

12 Jan 2019   ·   13

FREE subscription to Real Simple Magazine + Sports Illustrated for Kids

(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 .)

I just got a AND a from . Here’s how:

  1. I signed into my (if you don’t have an account, — it’s free!)
  2. I took a short survey that they offered me (it only took me about two minutes).
  3. As soon as I took the survey, they offered me $30 in free rewards points that I could spend on a number of different magazine subscriptions. I chose to get Real Simple magazine. You just fill out a simple form and check no on the offers that pop up.
  4. After I had ordered my subscription to Real Simple magazine — completely FREE! — I was offered the option to take another survey. So I said yes.
  5. I took the second survey (again it only took me less than 2 minutes) and I was offered more magazines I could order for free. I chose to get Sports Illustrated for Kids. Again, I checked “no” on the extra offers and got the free subscription.
  6. Note: I didn’t have to give any card information, so I won’t be billed ever nor will my subscription auto-renew.

Go and ! And let me know which magazine subscription(s) you choose!

I can’t wait to get my FREE magazines in the mail… and Silas is going to be excited about getting Sports Illustrated for Kids!

Psst! I also signed up for a FREE subscription to Health magazine this week, too! Did you get that freebie, as well?

12 Jan 2019   ·   0

NYX Lip Gloss for just $2.82 — I love these!

(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 .)

Right now, Amazon Prime members can get select!

I’d never tried these before, but I had heard great things, so I went ahead and ordered them along with a recent Amazon order and I’ve been so impressed with them!

(Psst! I earn free Amazon gift cards with Swagbucks. Find out more here.)

They are high-quality. They are the perfect gloss to go on over any lipstick (or you can wear them by themselves!). And they are long-lasting.

Here’s how to get this deal:

  • Head over to Amazon and choose from the three different NYX Butter Gloss options that are under $3: , , and .
  • Add it to your cart.
  • Order $25 worth of other items from Amazon. (This price is only good as an add-on — it ships free with any $25 order. So only get this if you were already planning to buy something from Amazon!)
  • Don’t forget: All Amazon orders ship FREE with no minimum through the end of January! If you want a guaranteed faster shipping speed, you can  to get free 2-day shipping.
12 Jan 2019   ·   1

Brigette’s $90 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6


Aldi

2 bags Riced Cauliflower – $3.38

2 bags Frozen Broccoli Florets – $2.18

1 bag Frozen Blueberries – $1.49

2 3-lb bag Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts – $10.78

1 pkg Pepperoni – $1.95

1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89

1 gallon 1 % Milk – $1.32

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.32

1 can Whipped Topping – $2.65

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1 64-oz carton Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.69

2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.38

2 boxes Macaroni and Cheese – $0.50

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.65

1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.15

1 can Parmesan Cheese – $2.29

1 16-oz pkg Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $2.15

1 16-oz pkg Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $2.49

1 jar Pasta Sauce – $0.99

1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix – $0.29

1 1-lb pkg Butter Quarters – $2.04

1 32-oz pkg Spaghetti Noodles – $0.79

1 box Frosted Flakes – $1.39

2 boxes Honey Nut Oats – $2.30

4 dozen Eggs – $4.32

1 loaf White Bread – $0.65

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $0.65 (the tortillas and the shredded cheddar cheese are not pictured – they were confiscated immediately upon arrival at home for a dinner “emergency”…never ever go shopping and buy groceries for dinner close to dinnertime, and then expect your family to wait to eat until AFTER you’ve finished taking a picture of groceries needed for dinner :))

1 jar Extra Virgin Olive Oil – $2.69

2 jars Pesto Sauce – $3.38

1 jar Organic Salsa – $1.35

1 24-oz carton Cottage Cheese – $1.59

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.49

1 pkg Cauliflower – $1.89

1 pkg Broccoli Crowns – $1.79

2 16-oz bags Mini Cucumbers – $3.38

2 bags Baby Carrots – $1.50

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $1.79

1 2-lb bag Honeycrisp Apples – $2.49

1 tub Organic Baby Spinach – $1.79

2 1-lb bags Fresh Green Beans – $2.78

2 cans Chicken $3.10

Grocery Total for the Week: $90.24

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Oatmeal, Cereal, Fruit, Toast, Smoothies, Scrambled/Fried/Hard Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets,

Lunches

Macaroni and Cheese, Apples, Carrots

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Grapefruit (leftover from last week), Cucumbers x 2

Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Shredded Cheese, Cucumbers

Leftovers, Fresh Veggies with Dip

Crackers and Peanut Butter, Cheese Sticks, Apples/Pears (leftover from last week) x 2

Dinners

(I’ll make up my own ranch seasoning for this), Tossed Salad, Broccoli, Homemade French Bread (I’ll make 2 loaves – one for later this week)

Venison Steaks with Gravy, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower, Freezer Biscuits

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Tossed Salad, Sauteed Green Beans

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (family recipe), Homemade French Bread, Tossed Salad

Build-Your-Own-Burritos, (seasoned ground venison, chopped romaine, shredded cheese, salsa, homemade refried beans, chopped onions), (although I’ll use jarred salsa instead of all fresh ingredients to save some time)

Chicken Gravy over Rice, Green Beans, Freezer Biscuits

Leftovers

12 Jan 2019   ·   0

Free Kids Workshop at Home Depot on February 2, 2019

Home Depot is hosting another  on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.. This month’s project is to build a heart candy box.

Here are the details:

  • Join our hands-on workshop and you and your child can build a heart candy box. Once the box is built, your child can decorate it with paint and stickers.
  • All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last.
  • Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

.

Thanks, !

11 Jan 2019   ·   12

Champion Boys’ Performance Hoodie just $10.99 shipped!

(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 .)

You can get this right now + FREE shipping! Use 9 at checkout to get this deal.

There are and they come in sizes S-XL. (The color that Silas has is now sold out.) You can order as many as you’d like at this price… and you’ll get free shipping on your entire order.

I got one for Silas but I sized up so that he could grow into it. He loves his and it’s great quality!

Here’s how to get this deal:

  • as you’d like (make sure the price is that you add to your cart).
  • Go to checkout and type in and it should take $2 off each hoodie.
  • You should only pay $10.99 per hoodie + shipping is free.

Let us know if you’re able to get in on this deal!

11 Jan 2019   ·   10

An MRI & Beef Fajitas in the Crockpot

Are you joining me for the ! I’m thrilled to have SO many of you participating this time around!

I shared my menu plan for this week and the grocery list in the email I sent out to the  (Not on that list? .)

Last Night’s Dinner:

Last night’s dinner (Meatballs in the Slow Cooker — see above) was our least favorite meal of the week. I think it was because of the spaghetti sauce. I think it would have been super yummy with some kind of barbecue sauce instead of spaghetti sauce. (We’re not big fans of spaghetti sauce, though, so if you are, I’m sure you’d love the recipe!)

We served it twice baked potatoes, blueberries, and salad.

What I Made Today:

My day started with an MRI on my wrist. It was my first ever MRI and it was quite an interesting experience. I’m glad to have it behind me — and we’re hoping to find out some answers from it (I was in a pretty bad car accident in December and have had chronic hand/wrist pain ever since. They’ve done lots of x-rays but can’t see anything wrong, so the specialist ordered an MRI to hopefully give some clarity!)

When I got home from the MRI, I made Beef Fajitas in the crockpot. This recipe was a little more time-intensive to do than most of the other recipes that could be made in just a few minutes, but it was still really simple.

If you want to , here you go:

And here’s :

I’ll let you know what we thought of the recipe! I think it’s going to be yummy!

Thanks for joining me in this challenge. If you want to , head over and leave a comment and tell us!

Looking for some inspiration to eat at home more often?

I’m using the  for my recipes for this challenge. I love this menu-planning service and highly recommend it — especially if you struggle to come up with the time and inspiration to make your own menus.

 is a menu-planning service designed to make getting dinner on the table much easier every night. It was a service created by Tiffany, a mom of 4 who loves to cook and loves to gather her family around the table, but has found that if she doesn’t have a quick and easy plan, it’s hard to make that happen.

How Does the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service Work?

The  is an incredible way to help you save time and save money. You don’t have to worry about planning menus OR grocery list, because Tiffany does all of that for you as part of the menu-planning service.

She has designed it specifically with busy families in mind and the menu plans offer:

  • Quick to fix meals (even as fast as 15 minutes to the table!)
  • Lots of slow cooker recipes

The recipes can all be fixed quickly, with only a few minutes of hands-on prep. Because the recipes use common pantry ingredients, it’s likely that you have everything you need to make many of the recipes.

It’s so convenient because all the work is done for you! You just choose which menu plan you’ll use, print the grocery list, go shopping, and then spend a few minutes prepping food each day and dinner is D-O-N-E!

When you  (it’s just a few dollars per week — or less!), each month, you’ll get:

  • An entire money of No Flour, No Sugar menu plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Traditional Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Slow Cooker Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions (this is my favorite!)
  • An entire month of Whole Food Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • Each menu plan comes with recipes created for small family (3-4 servings) and large family (6-8 servings)
  • Color-coded grocery lists make it easy to swap out ingredients or whole meals
  • Printable Menus to hang on the fridge or near your calendar, so you can easily see what’s for dinner that week and your family can too
  • Access to the entire month at once!
  • 1 Hour Freezer Stash Plans – a new plan each month to stock your freezer with 6 meals in 1 hour!

You can choose to stick with just the traditional menu plan or just the slow cooker menu plan or just the whole foods menu plan or just the no flour, no sugar menu plan. Or, you can rotate different menu plans on different weeks, depending upon what you feel like cooking or how much time you have!

Get the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service for as Low as $1.13 per Week!

If you struggle to make menu plans and would love for someone to make them for you + make a grocery list for you, it’s well worth spending a few dollars every week to let  do the work for you.

This week only, when you  (either the monthly plan, the quarterly plan, or the yearly plan, you can get 30% off through January 14, 2019 by using coupon code NEW at checkout!)

That makes the done-for-you menu plans and grocery lists as low as $1.13 per week. And you get access to all four plans and the freezer cooking plans for the whole month at the rate!

(Oh and they have a fantastic two-week money-back guarantee if you think you want to try it out but aren’t sure whether it will work for you or not!)

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 .

11 Jan 2019   ·   0

FREE One-Month Trial of Pure Flix!

(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 .)

Have you heard of ? They are a streaming service that provides wholesome movies and television that the entire family can enjoy together.

And right now they’re offering a !

offers a mix of family-friendly & wholesome entertainment, including movies for all ages, kid’s animated titles, documentaries, how-to’s, hobbies, educational, health & fitness, sports, outdoors and travel, many inspirational and devotional titles.

Note: After your FREE month, your subscription will automatically renew at the regular charge of $10.99/month. If you don’t want to continue after your free trial, simply cancel your membership in your account settings before your first month is up!

11 Jan 2019   ·   0

Just Open the Door Kindle eBook only $2.99!

(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 .)

You can currently get the right now!

As I talked about in a podcast episode a couple months ago, this book was completely life-changing for me and challenged me to open our home every single week in 2018.

I used to be so scared to invite people into my home. Hospitality felt like something I just wasn’t good at.

This book is SO encouraging for those fearful of hospitality and hosting. It shows you how hospitality is so much more than a physical space and starts with simply opening up your heart to let people in.

It gives you practical ways to open up your door and show hospitality — even when you feel like your home is too small or you can’t afford to prepare a fancy four-course meal.

Thanks, !

11 Jan 2019   ·   6

Asics Men’s and Women’s Running Shoes for just $48.27 shipped (Reg. $90)!

(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 .)

This HOT deal is still available!!

Are you a runner and brand loyal to Asics? If so, you do NOT want to miss this RARE discount on Asics running shoes!!

or – $68.95
Use coupon code 30JAN19 to get an extra 30% off
Shipping is FREE
Pay $48.27 shipped after sale and coupon code

There are multiple colors and sizes to choose from.

These are regularly $90, so this is an amazing deal — especially for Asics!!

Thanks, !