We Shivleys are avid readers. The kids read a ton of fiction books, but Trent and I tend to land in the non-fiction, religious, self-help genre. I’m actually not a huge fan of the term “self-help,” but that’s for another day… Anyway, there are four books that I (Sarah) have read over the last couple of years, and I can’t recommend them enough! If you’re looking for some solid reads for the new year then definitely start here:


Here’s why I love Atomic Habits: I feel like my whole adult life has been spent trying to establish good habits and coming up short. Once I started implementing the tactics in this book I found myself making progress. The entire books just makes so much sense, and here are a couple of quotes to prove my case:

  • “The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. Breaking it down into these fundamental parts can help us understand what a habit is, how it works, and how to improve it.”
  • “If a behavior is insufficient in any of the four stages, it will not become a habit. Eliminate the cue and your habit will never start. Reduce the craving and you won’t experience enough motivation to act. Make the behavior difficult and you won’t be able to do it. And if the reward fails to satisfy your desire, then you’ll have no reason to do it again in the future.”


I cannot overstate how incredible this book is! John Mark Comer has such an accurate understanding of the human mind and the current state of society. The way he applies the truth of scripture to the everyday struggles of life made me highlight half the book. The basic premise of the book is that there are three things at war with our mind, but we can battle back!

  • “Our fight is first and foremost a fight to take back control of our minds from their captivity to lies and liberate them with the weapon of truth.”
  • “As followers of Jesus, we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and the three enemies’ strategem is as follows: Deceptive ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society.”
  • “It is absolutely crucial for us to recapture the idea of spiritual war; because as long as we deny the reality of demonic evil, we will demonize people… instead of fighting back the hate and violence and darkness of the three enemies, we will just add even more hate and violence and darkness to a culture in desperate need of healing.”


When Trent and I first started down the path of debt freedom it was because of Dave Ramsey. We owe a lot of our financial success to him, but recently we came across Bob (and Linda) Lotich and read their book. If you want someone to explain how to get rid of financial stress while reminding you that life is about more than money, then this is the book for you. It’s incredible!

  • “Chasing the provision rather than the provider is a mistake. Jesus is always our greatest gift and treasure, far greater than any financial blessings that may come our way.”
  • “[Assets Under Management] is a better way of looking at money instead of just considering debt. When all you’re looking at is paying off debt then debt reduction is the only measure of success. AUM allows you to see financial success in things like funding a roth IRA, purchasing a piece of real estate, AND paying off debt. All of those things move the needle away from debt and towards a more positive net-worth.”


I know the title of this book kind of alienates our male readers, but it’s really great for everyone. Jen Wilkin lays out an incredible way of studying the Bible, and it’s so practical. Reading this book feels like sitting down with a mature, gracious follower of Christ who’s discipling you in the ways of Bible study. If you’ve never read it you’re missing out!

  • “When women grow increasingly lax in their pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environments we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel. Home, church, community, and country desperately need the influence of women who know why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. They desperately need the influence of women who love deeply and actively the God proclaimed in the Bible.”

If you’ve already read any of these books already I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and if you have any other great book suggestions definitely don’t keep those to yourself! Here’s to reading good books in the New Year! ?

Because there’s a better way,

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1 year ago

Jen Wilkins book is amazing! Read it a few years ago and it is impactful !