On My Nightstand: September Reading

Good morning, Friends! I had a full weekend and now it’s back to the grind. It’s feeling very Monday morning-ish. Anybody else with me on that? Anyway, I thought I would give you a rundown of my latest reading.

A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent was a rich read. This book is best read slowly and I enjoyed taking my time reading just a few pages at a time along with my normal Bible reading. Understanding the Gospel’s impact on my daily life has been a life-changing thing for me and has been something that God has been teaching me in bucket loads in the past five years or so. The truths in this little book are simple, biblical truths that will awaken you to your need of the Gospel each and everyday of your life.

Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver DeMille was part of my ongoing research in educational philosophies and contributed to my information overload. :) I gave an overview of Leadership Education awhile back. Up to this point I had only read articles and scoured their website, but reading this book really put all the missing pieces together in my mind. There are some things that I wouldn’t agree with, but overall this book was extremely helpful. Many of the thoughts and principals about how children learn laid out in this book I really agree with. I also got a lot of little nuggets of helpful information and ideas as I prepare for teaching our children. This was an extremely helpful read.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker has been fairly popular lately. I feel like this is a book that could come off very differently to different people. In order to get a better grasp of the excess they lived with, Hatmaker and her family did 7 month-long fasts in 7 different areas. These areas were: food, clothing, possessions, media, spending, waste, and stress. Each month they narrowed down their use to only 7 things in that particular category. For instance, she chose 7 foods to eat for the entire month of the food fast. In the spending month, she chose 7 places to spend money at (I.e. not too many restaurants and coffee shops–you will have to grocery shop!).  Hatmaker does not at all give the impression that we should repeat this experiment, but it was her way of assessing how much excess she truly lived with. She had a better vision of her stuff and how much she really could help the poor, and how much of her life was truly consumed with things.

Jen Hatmaker is really funny. Her book is written in real-time. You are not getting a lofty view of the benefits of the experiment as she reflects on it after the fact. It is her journal of how she felt in the moment. From the overwhelming sense of burden to give to the poor to the, “I am SICK of these clothes.” She’s honest and real. Her helpful thoughts on the working poor, and giving your excess to specific places (like a pregnancy crisis center or your church) so that it can really be used to benefit people in need, and not just dropped off at goodwill were things I had not really considered.

Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families by Michelle Anthony was a pleasantly surprising good read. I don’t say that because I had any reason to think differently. I have never read anything by Anthony. However, I do get weary of parenting books and their prescriptive formulas. Life is not a formula, and parenting certainly does not follow a formula. Some of the things I appreciated about this book was the overall vision it gave me. She emphasizes that we need to teach our children that they are part of the larger picture of God’s story. They need to see their lives as an element in God’s working in the world throughout history, not a separate entity unto themselves. She also emphasizes modeling. She shared things that brought me under conviction about how I am expecting things of my children that I am, in fact, not modeling myself. I was encouraged to beg for God’s mercy in my own life first, and then in my children’s. Her tone was very gracious yet straight-forward. I felt as if I were sitting in a living room talking to her and she was giving me not advice from a lofty position of knowledge, but encouragement from biblical truths and from life experience.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Now I’m off to spend the rest of my Monday pulling us back together after a busy weekend! I hope you all have a great start to your week.

Happy Monday!

Have you read any good books lately? Please share!

Disclosure: This post contains my affiliate link.


  1. The only one of your list that I’ve read was 7, and I think you gave a really good synopsis of it. I’ve got Spiritual Parenting on my TBR list, but hadn’t heard of the other books you’ve got listed. They do sound really interesting though, especially the Gospel Primer one.

  2. We have the Gospel Primer, and I have yet to read it. Maybe I’ll add it to my Bible time like you did. Good suggestion.

  3. Love the Gospel Primer…need to read it again. Excited about reading Spiritual Parenting (hopefully I can get it soon…will have to drop a few hints to M :-) ) And, I recently read Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl and Loving the Little Years and highly recommend them!

    • I’ve read Loving the Little Years (I think we may have talked about this, maybe?), and Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl is actually currently on hold at the library. Just waiting for it to become available. We must have similar tastes. :)

      • Yes, I think you told me about Loving the Little Years last Dec. b/f we left the States, and did you also review it in one of your On My Nightstand posts? Anyway, I know I connected it to you when a dear friend gifted it to me for my birthday, and I was very excited to read it. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl after you read it. It’s the kind of book I need to read multiple times to really grasp the message, but even my first read was VERY beneficial and eye-opening. Happy reading!

        • Ah, yes! I remember now. No, I didn’t do a review here, I read it before I started this blog.

          As to Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, I’m curious myself. I have heard good things, though, so I am eager to read!

  4. Hmmm…I think I probably have an unpopular view of 7. I am still pushing myself through it, mostly because I feel turned off by the author’s writing style. :( I think she has an excellent message in the book and her experiment, but I fear that it’s sometimes obscured by such a trivial tone. Maybe it’s just me, and it will get better further into the book, though.

    I’m almost finished with Jesus Made in America, thanks to your recommendation I moved it up on my to-read list. Really enjoying it, though it definitely wasn’t what I expected by the cover. :)

    Hoping to get to Leadership Education, and I felt the same way about Michelle Anthony’s book.

    • Actually, no. I thought the same thing at first. I had to read it quickly because I had it on kindle loan which is only 2 weeks. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have pushed through. Initially, I gave it very few stars, but after being done and putting it away for awhile I found myself thinking about the overall message quite a bit. Hence, it ended up being a good read, if that makes any sense.

      I wasn’t, however, eager to read another book of hers. And that probably was mainly due to the style.


  1. […] Johanna at “My Home Tableau” usually posts a monthly report of her reading. (Her recent “On My Nightstand: September Reading is here.) […]

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