I finished five books in April: Atomic Habits and four others. Read on for my impressions of each title.
The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas
The first book I finished in April was Gary Thomas’s The Sacred Search. Of course, I completed my own sacred search over three decades ago. So why am I reading this book now? Because singles often ask me to recommend helpful books on the topic. I plan to compile a list of my favorites, and Gary’s book has definitely earned a place on it.
I found his description of the various types of marriages very insightful. And I also appreciated the plethora of questions Gary advises couples to discuss and answer before committing to marriage. My husband and I instinctively knew we needed to reach a consensus on many of those same issues before we decided to marry. Thankfully, we were able to do so and have since enjoyed nearly 34 years of wedded bliss as we pursue our shared vision for home and family.
Yet I’ve met many couples over the years who’ve rushed into marriage without giving any consideration to these foundational principles, only to later learn that they held widely disparate views on some pretty significant questions. Is it any wonder, then, that those areas have continued to be a source of contention within their marriage?
If you’re still single, I’d highly recommend working through Gary’s book together before tying the knot with any potential marriage partner. You’ll both be glad you did.
Quickstart Guide to a Productive Permaculture Garden by Susannah Shmurak
This ebook was part of the 2021 Ultimate Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle and is sadly not available for purchase elsewhere. (UPDATE: You can now find it on Amazon. Hooray!)
You can, however, find much of the same helpful information by wading through a huge library of past posts on the author’s linked gardening blog.
Susannah is very knowledgeable and experienced in the art of permaculture gardening and sustainable living. And she freely shares with her readers all she knows on related topics within that niche.
Incidentally, Ultimate Bundles, the company who released the collection that originally contained this ebook, offers some of the best deals on the Internet for book lovers on a broad range of subjects. To get on their waiting list for future bundles, follow this link.
Aging with Grace by Sharon Betters and Susan Hunt
Aging with Graceoutlines a plan for “flourishing in an anti-aging culture.” This is a challenge all of us will face if we don’t die young. And the authors provide insight as to how we can do it in a way that honors God.
I’ve not yet faced many of the struggles this book describes, such as failing health, prodigal children, and widowhood. Yet I’ve faced other trials and suspect there are more on the horizon for me to weather.
I was blessed and encouraged to read the testimonies of God’s faithfulness to so many who are in “the afternoon of life” (ages 56-80). Especially since, as of two weeks ago, that demographic includes me.
Spurgeon said it well: “He who dies daily dies easily.” Life is often punctuated by sorrow and hardship, yet Christ calls us to rejoice and take courage in the midst of our trials and tribulations, knowing that He has overcome the world. And He beckons us to die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Steel myself to face it with resolve and an unshakable faith in God’s goodness.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
I listened to Rachel McAdams’ audio version of Anne of Green Gables with my grandchildren last month.
The book proved every bit as delightful as the first time I listened to the same recording with my children.
The story, which follows the adoption of an 11-year-old orphan named Anne Shirley, was totally new to them.
They didn’t cry as much as I did. Okay, they didn’t cry at all. But they still enjoyed hearing about how middle-aged siblings Morilla and Matthew Cuthberth intended to adopt a boy to help on the family farm, but ended up with a red-haired, freckled slip of a girl instead.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
This book’s subtitle says it all: “Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results.” It was both a fascinating and motivating read and got me thinking of all sorts of tiny changes I might make to better my life.
I actually started this book — and finished all but the appendices — back in January. One of the tiny changes it inspired me to make was to begin keeping a food diary. I didn’t institute a lot of rules about what, when, where, or how much I’d eat. I simply purposed to write down everything I ate every day sometime before I went to bed that night.
Sure enough, that tiny change eventually led to some fairly significant results. I’ve kept that food diary for 147 days straight now and have dropped 29 pounds (and counting) since New Year’s. The success I’ve enjoyed with this tiny change has prompted me to make other tiny changes, as well. But those are a story for another day!
That’s it for this month. To read more of my book reviews, follow this link: Flanders Family Recommended Reads
Susannah Shmurak says
I am so honored you put my book on this list, thank you! I’ll be putting the e-book up on Amazon and my site this summer and would be happy to let you know when it’s available for purchase. Many thanks!
Jennifer Flanders says
Please do, Susannah! You have a lot of great information. I’m glad you’re going to make it available for folks that missed the Ultimate Bundle promotion!
The revised and updated version just released on Amazon. Again, thanks so much for mentioning it on your site!
Jennifer Flanders says
You’re so welcome, Susannah. Happy to do so!