Books - June 6, 2022

What I Read in May

brighton butler may book review

I’m back with another “What I Read” post! In May, I only read two books (versus my goal of three), but honestly, they were both so good that I don’t even care. I feel like I got a lot out of both of these and I’m excited to share them with you.

During pregnancy, my emotions are all over the place (hello, hormones), so I like to read books that are uplifting and encouraging. Both of these books gave me some key takeaways that I plan to apply during pregnancy.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is helping me a ton as I make my way through pregnancy, while Embrace Your Almost is perfect for some of my struggles around contentment with parenting and life in general. I feel like both were such a blessing for where I’m at in life right now!

Here’s a deeper dive into the two books I read last month. I honestly can’t recommend them enough. I promise you these will not be a waste of your time!

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Amy Morin

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

I was surprised by how much I loved this book! 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do gave me the extra encouragement on the mental discipline front that I needed during pregnancy. The author provides key takeaways that are super easily to apply too.

This has been on my list of books to read for a few months after hearing my friend Val mention she read it last year. Any time I tell someone close to me that I’m struggling with laziness or discipline, they don’t believe me. That makes me think that maybe I’m good at fooling people because it’s something I struggle with almost every single day.

I started the year off pretty strong, but during my first trimester, I hit a slump that’s been tough for me to get past, if I’m being honest. Lately, I’ve felt I needed a little extra encouragement on the mental discipline front and thought this book would be just the right dose of motivation.

The author, Amy Morin, is great at reminding me of things I may already know but need to hear again. Specifically, she has an entire chapter about how unproductive and harmful sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself can be. I throw a lot of pity parties — they feel good lol, but they do NOTHING for me.

I bought this book on Audible and have been listening to it off and on throughout the month.  I’ve enjoyed every single point the author has brought up. I also enjoyed hearing her story and the life experiences that have helped her learn these things through some really hard times.

In my experience, my mental health can be such a product of my willingness to discipline my individual thoughts. I can’t always control my mental state, but there are little things I can do that really help. Sometimes I let my mind go places it really doesn’t need to go — places that do NOTHING for me except bring me down or set me back. And even though I *know* this in my head, I don’t always have the strength to follow through.

Here’s a little bulleted list of things Morin says mentally strong people DON’T do.   

  1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
  2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power
  3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change
  4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control
  5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone
  6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks
  7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past
  8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over
  9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success
  10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure
  11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time
  12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything
  13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Embrace Your Almost by Jordan Lee Dooley

Jordan Lee Dooley

Embrace Your Almost

This book was SO GOOD for me right now. I struggle with contentment and am constantly trying to be more or do more or be in a different place. Embrace Your Almost reminded me that where I’m at right now is perfect and exactly where I’m meant to be!

Jordan and I have been friends for so long! I think we first met back in 2015 at a conference and were instant friends. I’ve always admired her as a person and think she’s one of the most talented storytellers. She has such a gift for writing and sharing her story and perspective on life in such a relatable and empowering way. 

Embrace Your Almost is all about living in the in-between. Things don’t always work out the way we hope they will — that’s life, right? But so often we hear from people AFTER they’ve gotten where they want to go.

Her book talks about the messy middle and how to embrace and make the most of exactly where you are no matter how unfinished your life or circumstances may feel. Although I haven’t experienced the exact deep loss that Jordan has, I was able to relate to so much of her story and the hard (but incredibly important) lessons she has learned along the way.

Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow

Linda Dillow

Calm My Anxious Heart

THIS BOOK, y’all. It’s so good. I’d heard of this book before but always thought it was mostly for people with anxiety. I couldn’t be more wrong — there’s definitely stuff in there about anxiety, but there’s also sooo much more. Highly recommend it to anyone looking for peace and contentment in their life.

This book has actually come across my radar several times over the past 10 years, but I’ve always looked over it because I didn’t really feel like it would resonate with me. I’ve never really identified as being an anxious person, but I’ve realized over the past couple of years that I most certainly am. I also didn’t realize how closely linked anxiety and contentment are.

What actually led me to read this book was a conversation I had with a friend recently about the “if only” lie I often fall for when it comes to life circumstances. Sometimes I start to believe the lie that “if only” I had this or my life was this way, then I would have the missing thing in my life that would make me feel more complete or content. Sometimes I can really get STUCK and blind-sighted by this way of thinking.

Anyway, she told me there was a whole chapter about that in a book she’d recently studied with her small group. It was right then and there that I ordered the book and read it immediately! I can absolutely see how there’s a whole study that goes chapter by chapter through this book because each chapter brings up such good points and common struggles that I’d argue every woman battles. This will definitely be a book I read over and over again because there’s so much truth in it that I need to constantly be reminded of. 

I love the chapter about having a “faulty focus” where the author explains the importance of setting a direction for our lives rather than just floating through the weeks and months. I also loved the chapter about being content in relationships and then the one on trusting God with the “if onlys.” But honestly, every single chapter is SO good.