Nothing makes me want to curl up with a good book more than yucky weather, and January is full of yucky weather! What is it about January that makes it seem twice as long as the other 11 months? If I could, I would spend every day of it curled up with my coffee in one hand and my latest book in the other. (But alas, there are three boys in the house who like to be fed … )
What about you? Do you like to spend your snow days (or non snow days for my fair-weather friends) wrapped in a cozy blanket with a good book in your hands? Do you need some ideas for your next great read?
As always, I am here to help! I’m nothing if not ever-willing to offer a good book recommendation!
Here is my special January gift to you – my favorite recent reads that you can add to your winter reading list!
(Plus, what’s next on my to-read list!)
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My Favorite Recent Reads
Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Purposes and Plans by Wendy Pope
The purpose of this book is to help women in the various seasons of waiting that they undoubtedly will encounter in their lives. Waiting for a husband, waiting for a child, waiting for career opportunities … Whatever the particular wait might be, Wendy encourages us to “focus on the Person of our faith rather than the object of our wait.” She uses that line again and again throughout the book, and it has become such a powerful reminder to me as I go through my own season of waiting. The entire book was very beneficial for me, but my favorite part was her reminder that after David was anointed king, he returned to the pasture. It would be another 20 years before he took his throne. In the meantime he didn’t complain or manipulate. He simply did what he knew to do. What God had for him to do right in that moment.
Uninvited: When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
I know, I’m kind of late to the party. This one has been out for awhile, but I just finally got around to reading it this month. I wasn’t really planning to read this one. I LOVE Lysa’s writing, and The Best Yes is one of my all-time favorite books for women, but I just didn’t think this one was going to resonate very much with me. After hearing a friend’s recommendation, I decided to read it anyway. If nothing else, it would enable me to talk about it on the job.
However, I ended up really loving it. There was more in it for me than I had anticipated. The example of her skewed perception of one lady’s opinion of her struck a chord with me, and her call to live in the fullness of a life loved by God challenged me. I have long realized that I focus too heavily on the approval of others, but Lysa’s words reached new depths of my heart when she said that when you “live from the abundant place that you are loved, … you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.” This is a powerful book for anyone who has a tendency to let others fill the soul-spaces only God was designed to fill.
I’m going to be totally honest – I can be very self-centered. I get so wrapped up in my own plans and schedules and tasks that I just plain don’t think about other people sometimes. Becoming a wife and then a mother has made me a significantly less selfish person than I used to be, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. This is an area that I deeply desire to improve in, so when this book came out, I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint! Karen offers wonderfully valuable tips on how to develop ears and hearts that are more alert to the needs around you, and then offers practical, creative ideas for how to meet them. If you desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus, this is a must-read for you.
Read my review of another favorite book from Karen, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All.
What I’m Currently Reading
Tightropes and Teeter-Totters: Finding Balance in the Ups and Downs of Life by Lisa Penningtom
I’m about halfway through this one, and I am loving it! It’s not officially released until February 1, but I was able to get an early copy through my job. Lisa writes with humorous and transparent honesty that captivates and encourages. Her stories on herself assure us that we’re not alone in our struggles, and her writing style makes this book anything but boring! The book is all about finding balance in various areas of a woman’s life: marriage, motherhood, homemaking, money, self-care, and more. She emphasizes that balance is not perfection, it’s not control, and it’s not mediocrity. It’s about getting back up when you fall, breaking free from the slavery of our emotions and attitudes, and examining areas of our lives that aren’t working and finding real ways to change them. This book is both deeply encouraging and highly practical, and I’m eager to read the rest!
The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
I am almost finished with this one, and it might end up being one of the best books I’ve ever read … for me. You might already be an awesome housekeeper with systems that work for you, and that’s great! For the rest of us, keeping a neat and tidy home can be a really frustrating experience, even when we’re highly motivated and committed to improving. Mindy wrote this book for others like herself who, in her words, are “house-keeping impaired,” and I could so relate! So much of what she shares in this book has been such a comfort to me, and it has completely made me rethink what I’ve long thought was just a discipline problem. She “gets” me in a way no other home organization guru has, and that’s why I’m so excited to implement some of the strategies she presents. I think this is finally going to help me achieve that comfortable home I’ve been striving for!
I read Gary Thomas’s book Sacred Marriage a few years ago and loved it. It gave me a new (and better) perspective of marriage that has helped me weather the ups and downs of our relationship. I highly recommend it to all Christian couples.
Cherished is his brand-new book, and it has been just as dynamic as the other. He writes that, although books abound on how to love our spouses, there isn’t much written about how to cherish each other. I have been greatly inspired and challenged by this book so far, and it will definitely be one that I read multiple times through the years. Though it is written from a Biblical perspective, I would recommend it to all couples, Christian or otherwise.
What’s Next on My To-Read List?
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
This is the book that inspired the recent movie about the black female mathematicians at NASA who contributed to some of America’s greatest achievements in space. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve heard very positive feedback from those who have. My mom and I share a great love for math, so when I saw this book on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, my interest was piqued and I had to get it.
Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity by Cheri Gregory & Kathi Lipp
Who wouldn’t want to pick up this book, simply from the title alone?? I HATE the feeling of overwhelm, and I am always on the lookout for new ways to nurture peace in my life. I’m also a big Kathi Lipp fan, so I’m excited to read all her great wisdom!
Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart: Building Faith, Wisdom, and Character in the Messes of Daily Life by Jim & Lynn Jackson
I truly desire to raise Godly children who respect others and contribute to both society and God’s Kingdom. But I want to do it in a way that fosters strong relationships and draws them closer to Christ, not in a way that controls or manipulates. This is the quote from the book that put it on my list to read: “Discipline is more than just a short-term attempt to modify your child’s actions–it’s a long-term investment to help them build faith, wisdom, and character for life.” That is my vision for my parenting, and I’m looking forward to learning how to achieve it!
Now I want to hear from you! What amazing books have you read recently? What books are you excited to read? Are there any on my list that you have read? If so, what did you think? Share anything and everything in the comments below. I LOVE talking books!
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