On My Bookshelf: Fourth Quarter of 2019

In October 2018, I read a book for the first time in a few years, I had no idea it would spark my love for reading again. In the first 3 quarters of 2019, I only read 3 books. In the last quarter of 2019, I got back into reading on my own, joined a book club, and read SEVEN books! I was really proud of this and have decided that at the end of each quarter I will review the books I read. Most of these are on kindle unlimited so I didn’t buy them. I will also be recommending which Write the Word Journal I would pair with each book.

Even though it was so hard I will rank these from favorite to least favorite.

#1: Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (not me)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Kate Motaung & Shannon Popkin

I cannot say ENOUGH good things about this book. I plan on reading this book every time I want to make a big platform change, and/or also plan to read this once a year so I will keep myself in check. I have read four books over the past two years that have drastically changed my life, but I will say this one was is by far the most life changing book I’ve ever read second to the Bible.

What I wish I knew before reading this book: That it would be such a wake up call. My heart needed this and it came at the perfect time, but do NOT read this book unless you are willing to be humbled.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? Yes

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Worship

Favorite Quote: (I wish I could just quote the whole book!)

Your job is not to build your own platform from scratch. It’s to build onto the foundation that Jesus has already built and extend Christ’s reach into the sea of people who need Him. So, remember your focus. Measure your motives. Lean on the One who can make your path straight. Trust Him to use you as a powerful influence for the kingdom as you seek to elevate Jesus, not yourself. Stand firmly and confidently on the platform God has built for you, and rely on Him to make you the best life jacket distributor you can be, with His help, in His strength, and for His glory.

Influence page 138

#2: It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Lysa Terkeurst

When I read this book in so many ways I felt like Lysa was writing everything I had been thinking about. I truly felt as if I was reading my own journey. The last chapter made me cry, and I keep the last few pages of the book in my phone so that I can read them every time I am tempted to doubt God. We will be using this book for the 2020 Spoonie Study!

What I wish I knew before reading this book: There is so much depth to each chapter.  Because of this, I chose to only read one chapter at a time so that I was able to absorb all the information Lysa had to offer. I also took advantage of the “Going to the Well” sections at the end of each chapter which highlighted the biggest takeaways from the chapter.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? No

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Hope


Favorite Quote: (Again, I wish I could just quote the whole book!)

“Perfection intimidates. Compassion inspires. And in that you will finally find the why. Why did this happen? Because there’s someone else in the world who would drown in their own tears if not for seeing yours. And when you make one other human simply see they aren’t alone, you make the world a better place. “Tell her I gave her the words upside down because she’ll give the world permission once again to see the wonderful in the why. Her whys have made her wise. “Upside down are the perfect words for a girl who will eventually land right side up, messy and marvelous and so very alive.” That’s you, my friend. That’s me. That’s the remaking of dust.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 221-222). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

#3: Choose Joy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Kay Warren

I have recommended this book to multiple people since reading it. My mentor and I have been talking about joy and the difference between joy-filled over joy-full (hear us talk all about this on episode 32 of the chronically cultivating podcast this weekend!) This book was the perfect way to spearhead a change in my attitude and outlook on joy. I also read this while going through the Cultivate Joy WTW Journal and it was an excellent pairing. This book shaped the way I see Jesus in a totally new way. I always think of Jesus as a serious preacher and person, but this book shows you how He was also a JOY-FILLED person.

What I wish I knew before reading this book: This book is not going to coddle you. It recognizes hurt and it’s place in our lives but will take you out of any type of self-pity or victim mentality regarding your experience with joy.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? Yes

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Joy

Favorite Quote: (For the final time in this post, I wish I could just quote the whole book!)

Joy is not about your circumstances or about how you feel. It is definitely not about living in denial and ignoring sorrow or pain. Joy is something much deeper, richer, more stable, and definitely more accessible than you might have though. That’s the beauty of the joy God offers. You no longer need to live in fear or worry, because God’s joy will always be available to you. In this world you will have trouble, Jesus says. But you can still take heart. You can still receive joy. You are not dependent on anyone or anything other than God and yourself to know joy.

Warren, Kay. Choose Joy . Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

#4: No Place Like Known

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Megan Valentine

This book preaches the truth that you can struggle and still be grateful. I read this book a couple months after processing losing our business. It really challenged me to get back up and remember that God was not “done with me.” It was a quick read that I didn’t expect to impact so deeply. Seeing her work through her losses helped me turn the loss of our business into the appreciation that God had given me something that made losing hurt so bad.

What I wish I knew before reading this book: This was going to force me to come to terms with my loss and hurt, and then turn that into gratitude and healing.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? Yes

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Contentment

Favorite Quote:

Here I was trying to create an identity for myself, as well as a life where I could matter and be seen out of fear that God was done with me. Out of insecurity that there was no place for me. Out of the lie that my “glory days” were behind me and certainly not ahead of me…. And that I was literally mourning the loss of a way of life that I knew and loved for the past two decades, not to mention all the people that went with it. And that it didn’t mean I wasn’t thankful for what we have now.

Valentine, Megan. No Place Like Known: A Journey Of Self-Discovery, Chasing Dreams, And Finding Home Right Where You Are (p. 24). Aradaya Publishing. Kindle Edition.

#5: Own Your Everyday

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Jordan Lee Dooley

This was a book recommended by my best friend who not only runs the book club but always has great recommendations. The book for me was not nearly as life-changing as it was for others. This book has great practical tips, but some did not align with how I goal set with a chronic illness. I knew though that it was going to be fully worth reading when in the first chapter she says,”Who says we have to be glamorous to show up and do what we’re made to do?”

What I wish I knew before reading this book: That this book would tempt me to goal set how I used to, which (as I’ve talked about a lot) does not align with where my body is at anymore and I would have guarded my mind a bit better.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? No

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Renewal

Favorite Quote:

I want to be the kind of woman who looks the fattest disappointments in the face and says, You don’t scare me. I’m thankful for you because you will be a lesson that will shape me into who I’ll become.


#6 Counting Grains of Sand

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Natasha Metzler

This is going to sound crazy, but it was so refreshing to read a book where in the end, God did not provide in the way that they prayed for. Don’t get me wrong I love reading about miracles and Jesus answering someone’s prayers in the way they expected, but that is not my story. Seeing someone else’s story that was so different yet so alike to mine was so enlightening.

What I wish I knew before reading this book: That this book would make me cry with her, for her, and in my own circumstances.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited? Yes

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Hope

Favorite Quote:

God made me what I always longed to be, in a way that I never expected, and my one simple step to start the process was surrendering to Him. Giving up and giving in and allowing God to write the story in His way, with His words, and in His time.

Metzler, Natasha. Counting Grains of Sand: learning to delight in a Promise-Making God (p. 44). Kindle Edition.

#7 Perfectly Unique

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Author(s): Annie F. Downs

As I am looking to learn how to better worship, I decided to give this book a go. There were a couple things that really helped shape my perspective, but it was too self-focused for me as someone who is trying to think less of themself.

What I wish I knew before reading this book: It would be more about gaining confidence in who God created you to be over learning to worship with the body He gave us selflessly.

Was this on Kindle Unlimited?: Yes

Write the Word Journal I would pair with this book: Cultivate Worship

Favorite Quote:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (emphasis mine). We’re supposed to love other people the same way we love ourselves. But do you love yourself? Better phrased, do you love all of you? Because if you and I want to live a life that reflects Christ and glorifies Him, we have to accept every part of who we are. If you want to love other people correctly, you have to figure out some way to love yourself correctly. Completely. Today. Just as you are.

Downs, Annie F.. Perfectly Unique (pp. 29-30). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

There you have it, my 2019 Fourth Quarter of Reading!

What books are on your bookshelf?

Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt in goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, is produced by Speaking to the Heart Network. Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com

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