Finish (and 3 More New Releases for Your Reading Pleasure)

I love to read. Typically, I finish a book or more a week. I can’t help wanting to share my favorites, in hopes they’ll resonate with you the way they do with me. So here’s a handful of just-released or soon-to-be-released titles you may want to add to your reading list:


Becoming MomStrong by Heidi St. John - timely and encouraging advice for mothers of all ages and stagesI love Heidi’s heart for God, for strengthening families, and for encouraging mothers of every age. That passion shows in every page of her new book. Her subtitle sums it up beautifully: “How to fight with all that’s in you for your family and your faith.”

That’s what the book is, really. A battle plan. One that relies completely on the wisdom and sustaining strength that only God can provide.

There are so many forces at war against the family today, and Heidi knows that mothers need to be firmly rooted in the Word of God and bolstered by prayer if they are to withstand the attack. And she offers encouragement that is well-steeped in both. She sympathizes with the struggles moms face and helps us to see and appreciate whatever season we are in with new eyes, reminding us that God has divinely placed us right where we are for a reason.

I had the privilege of being on the MomStrong launch team, which means I got to read a digital copy of the book before its release date. I devoured it in two days, then immediately pre-ordered four hard copies. One I kept for my own library and the other three I gave to my daughters-in-law.

Becoming MomStrong is inspiring reading for mothers of all ages and stages, but particularly timely and encouraging for moms of littles.


Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff -- sound business advice delivered in a side-splittingly funny packageI had a hard time getting through this book, because Jon Acuff is hilarious! He gets me laughing so hard I cry. And then I can’t see to continue reading until I wipe the tears from my eyes and clean off my reading glasses.


By that time, my family has heard the commotion from the other room. They flock around me to find out what is so funny, so I have to back up to reread it aloud to them. Then I have to reread it again to the latecomers who didn’t notice my laughter but heard everyone else’s. And so on and so on. All of which is actually kind of nice, because good laughs — like good books — deserve to be shared. By the time we’re done, we’ve split our sides but we feel great, because laughter is such good medicine.

But the advice Acuff doles out in Finish is much-needed medicine, as well. It’s amazing to me that anyone can be so incredibly funny and still be so perfectly spot on. The book does a great job of identifying the obstacles and myths that sabotage our ability to finish what we start. I’ve seen a lot of myself in the book. Especially in the chapters about perfectionism and how paralyzing that mindset can be. It’s the kind of advice we’d do well to followed, in a book that begs to be shared.

I was on the launch team for this book, too. Unfortunately, the advanced reader copy I received was in a digital format that would not let me print it out, highlight favorite passages, or mark it up in any way. Since it’s like torture to me to read a book without a pen in hand, I didn’t finish Finish until after its release date, when I could read the print version. I’ve since ordered copies for several of my adult children. They have some fairly impressive finishes under their belts already. But they’ll accomplish much more and find greater joy in the process once they slay the ghosts Jon writes about. What’s more, I’ve been taking his advice to heart myself. And in so doing, I’ve already finished two book projects that had been on my back burner for years…

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS by Jennifer Flanders

Count Your Blessings: A Devotional Journal for Thanksgiving by Jennifer Flanders

“Bless the LORD, O my soul,” the psalmist writes, “and forget none of His benefits.” That’s good advice for all of us. We should be mindful of the many ways in which God has blessed us.

Count Your Blessings, the newest addition to my series of devotional journals, is designed with that goal in mind. Filled with writing prompts, word studies, and beautiful vintage clipart with related scripture verses on nearly every page, it will help you cultivate a heart of gratitude and feel truly thankful, not only in the month of November, but all year long.

Whether you choose to write, sketch, doodle, or paste special keepsakes in it, you can use the pages of this book to remember the Lord’s mercies and be grateful for them, to count His blessings and name them one by one, to recall His faithfulness to you in the past and, in doing so, be encouraged to trust Him with the future.

SIT DOWN & EAT by Jennifer Flanders

Sit Down & Eat: Fun Ideas for Making Mealtimes Memorable by Jennifer FlandersIf there’s one thing our family knows how to do, it’s how to enjoy ourselves around the dinner table. We love to eat, we love to celebrate, and we love to talk. And I’ve packed this book with all our best ideas for reclaiming the dinner hour. Our goal? To help make the meals you share with your family and friends more memorable.

This book is difficult to classify. It’s not exactly a cookbook, although it does contain some recipes (and an eclectic assortment at that). I’ve included everything from comfort-foods our family has enjoyed for generations to healthful vegan dishes that delight even our pickiest eaters.

It’s not really an organization book, although I’ve provided tips on things like stocking shelves, planning menus, and shopping efficiently. It’s certainly not a book on home design and decor, although I do share pointers for making your kitchen and eating space the kind of clean, cheerful, inviting area that others will want to spend time in.

Sit Down & Eat isn’t a parenting book. But it does discuss ideas for getting kids to eat their veggies and do their chores and contribute to the conversation. And it’s not a book on entertaining. But it does offer suggestions for setting a pretty table, showing hospitality, and celebrating special occasions.

In short, Sit Down & Eat spans lots of different categories. It was a fun book to write, and I hope you’ll find it a fun book to read, as well.

I really believe both these books have the potential to impact lives for the better….

In a culture that fosters feelings of entitlement for things we want, we’ve lost the ability to express sincere gratitude for the things we have. Count Your Blessings will help shift our focus.

And for fragmented families who’ve grown accustomed to running in different directions every night of the week, Sit Down & Eat serves as an important reminder of what we miss when we don’t take time to connect over the dinner table and offers a wealth of ideas for making such regular connections a reality.

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