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Starting the day off well (3 books to help with that)

    Here’s a truth I wish wasn’t true: I am not a morning person.

    It’s not that I’m grouchy, per se. I just don’t love mornings. If I could, I would stay in bed until 10am everyday. Part of that time would be actually sleeping – because this girl enjoys some sleep – and the rest would be just laying in bed thinking.

    Fun fact: in college, my roommate and bestie would walk into our apartment in the middle of the afternoon after class and find me laying on my bed doing nothing other than thinking. She thought I was so weird.

    Some people are verbal processors and need to talk through their ideas with others; I process in my head. So laying in bed and thinking seems strangely wonderful to me.

    I very much like the idea of waking up while the house is still sleeping, enjoying a hot cup of coffee and starting the day with plenty of quiet time to think, pray, journal, read.

    The problem is that I don’t actually drink coffee in the morning (gasp! I know) and my bed is just so comfy that anything else just can’t compete.

    It seems like most people put early risers in the ‘I should be like that’ category. But I’ve tried and failed enough times to allow myself the freedom to say it’s just not the routine that works for me.

    Instead, I wake up with very little time for lingering and just the right amount of time to get the younger kids breakfast, pack their lunches, throw on something somewhat presentable (or not) and drive them to school. This whole process takes me approximately 35 minutes.

    I do like to start my morning with Truth and so before heading downstairs to do the morning routine, I like to squeeze in a quick devotional from the comfort of my bed.

    In January I started the daily readings from New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp. I know I’ve talked about it before and I highly recommend it.

    Each day’s one page reading is full of encouragement, conviction, scripture and deep theological Gospel truths. It’s a great one if you’re looking for a morning devotional to make you think and always point you back to Jesus.

    The second book I just received is the brand new 100 day devotional called Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle (aka Big Mama).

    We were just talking in church yesterday about how our mission is to share the good news and that doesn’t mean sharing grand, perfectly formed arguments about why Jesus is the answer. Nope. The most compelling and beautiful thing we can do is to share what He’s done in our lives.

    Melanie’s new devotional has 100 stories about how Jesus has made Himself known in her everyday moments. I love reading stories like these to help me see Him in my regular life, too.

    The third book I can’t get enough of is the She Reads Truth bible.

    Do you have this one yet? It is so well done with helpful intros and resources, a bible reading plan, artwork scattered throughout (I contributed a few!) and a handful of She Reads Truth style devotions mixed in.

    My longtime go-to bible is a NIV Study Bible. This is the one I write in and underline and never, ever want to lose because it holds so many memories and is like a journal of my faith. But I like having this second SRT bible as it is in a different version (the Christian Standard Bible) and I like comparing verses.

    Anyway, in the morning, I don’t give myself much time to read, but I’m trying to at least open up my bible to whatever verse is referred to in the devotional reading for that morning. I love having these supplemental books to help us as we grow in our faiths, but there is nothing quite as powerful as the good ole bible.

    What is your morning routine like? Are you an early riser or the stay-in-bed-for-as-long-as-possible type like me? And, do you have any devotionals you love? Let’s chat in the comments …

    47 thoughts on “Starting the day off well (3 books to help with that)”

    1. I love that you share your faith on your blog!
      I read my Bible at night when everyone else is sleeping; I am not a morning person either!

    2. Emily, my beautiful daughter in law, you are just fine the way you are. Keep going at the same pace and you’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter if you are a morning person or not but how you go about your day ALL day long. Living with Jesus happens every hour of the day.

    3. I am on my third reading year of New Morning Mercies, it is perfect length for morning devotions which I do before I get out of bed too! This devotional always seems to speak to what I am dealing with. My husband got a copy from our daughter and he has been reading it year after year too, and we have given away many copies.

    4. I’m like you. I like my mornings to be long and slow and thoughtful and not rushed. Expectations that great me right away sets me in the wrong mood.

      I’ve been using the She Reads Truth read-through-the-Bible in a year plan. It’s been 2 years now, and it’s been my favorite way that I’ve enjoyed the Bible in my whole life! I equally understand more and have more questions. There’s no study to go with it, but I’m also a Bible scrapbooker and that helps me engage it more.


    5. Thanks for the recommendations! I bought myself New Morning Mercies right before the end of the year and I’ve been enjoying it. I’ll have to check out the other ones mentioned.

    6. I feel just the same about mornings!! It is a struggle since I am a last minute person and procrastinates getting out of bed early enough to have time for Bible-reading etc. I just about get kids at school in time! Thanks for the tips. I am looking into getting the She reads truth Bible. Any suggestions for a devotional for my husband perhaps, anyone?

    7. Up until my 40’s I was a morning person but now that my children are grown, I like to stay in bed until 7:30-8 am. I too think in bed-in the morning and at night after prayer. I have stuck with the KJV Bible because I like the majesty of the wording ( and I do have a book to help me understand Isaiah!). I enjoy a daily devotional book called, ‘A Year of Powerful Prayer- Getting Answers for Your Life Every Day’. Each day has a short topic- but you don’t have to go in order.

    8. I thought when you became a mom, you automatically became a morning person. I’m only 4 years into motherhood, but will have my 3rd here soon and I still am not a morning person. One of my best friend’s mom told me that she was still waiting to become a morning person and I have clung to those words. She was in her 60s and still hated mornings. I will definitely check out the SRT Bible. I love the app, and it has changed my quiet time into a more focused time…during the kids’ naps, midday. No mornings for me!

    9. Yes thank you for your honesty. I always feel guilty for not being a morning person. I have been trying to have a better morning routine this year. I love the “idea” of getting up early and having quiet time and not being rushed to get everything done but it seems sleep and the snooze button always wins. So thank you for reminding us to give our selves some grace while still making sure we find time to have God’s word a part of our day.
      I do a daily Bible reading plan to read through the Bible in a year.
      Some times I break from that to just read a chapter or two from a book of the Bible.
      When rushed for time I really like Sheila Walsh’s 5 minute devotional books.
      A friend also just introduced me to a one minute video devotional. There is a new one each day, its called “Every Word” you can watch or subscribe to it at
      Thanks again Emily for sharing your faith and encouraging us!!

    10. I am so the opposite in this regard… I love a 5:30-6 am wake-up for a time of Bible Study with a cup of coffee and a light bite. It’s my favorite time of day. I have such a hard time with 5-minute devotionals. I wish I loved them, and own many that I received as gifts, but they just don’t do it for me. I need a study with hard questions to make me really focus. It’s just the way my brain works.

      And like another reader… aft 9:30 pm, I’m not much fun. Just want to go to bed with some light reading (a good novel!).

    11. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m enjoying Maria Shriver’s latest book “I’ve Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life”.

    12. I was just reading Nicki Koziars new book “Why Her” (which is excellent BTW), she refers to the CSB version and I fell in love with it on my phone. I keep making mental notes to get one. I like to have multiple versions of the Bible, especially when doing an in-depth study. Thank you for the recommendation on the SRT version. I will definitely be ordering this! As far as mornings go I read my devotional (First5) quickly in the morning before getting the kids up but I save my studying and reading for at night when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet. It has been hard for me to let go of the ideal that my morning needs to be different than what it is. I am working to embrace me right where I am, the way God created me. Thanks for being a voice of reason and being honest about who you are too, it really is refreshing to read your posts like this. And I always love your book recommendations!

      1. The Paul Tripp one is my favorite!!!!!!!!
        I also got one at a yard sale recently LOVE IT:
        “Lord, I give you this day” by Kay Arthur.

    13. I love this, Emily. Thank you for sharing! I get up early, even though it’s not my thing, because that’s how everyone else is wired in my family. I have found that my body is adapting to it. Still there’s nothing better than staying up late on a Friday night with a good novel and reading until 3 am. Guilty pleasure!

      I am currently in Community Bible Study so that’s what I do in the mornings. I am also reading through Tim Keller’s book on Proverbs, which is very good. I love how it’s arranged and how it also manages deep truths in a short space.

      Thank you for being open about your faith in Jesus. I so appreciate that. And I love your blog.

    14. Adding all three to my Mother’s Day wish list and I will wish that if one of my adult kids buys one of the books that they will stop and read a little before giving it to me:) I am solidly a morning person and not much fun after 9:30 pm! I love the early morning! It takes discipline to do a full devotion in the morning, but any “bible reading dramatically helps my day”. I love the devotion book from “Shauna Niequist “Savor” – rich and honest for all ages but especially relevant for the women in mid child raising years. She is so awesome and shares so much. The scripture on each page is often something I haven’t read before which I appreciate. We all love all the “favorite” verses that we hear a lot. But the Lord provided a wealth of amazing scripture tucked inside some of the less well ready books of the Bible. Her book: Present Over Perfect is also a winner! XO to you Emily!

    15. These books all sound great and I will definitely check them out. I like to rise early but before I do I read my devotional on my phone. It is called First 5 from Proverbs 31 and I love it. It is great to start the day with scripture. First 5 lets you set an alarm if you choose so that you can be sure that His word comes first in the morning.

    16. I would get up at 8 or 8:30 if I could, but otherwise, everything else you described is ME!!!

      Now, off to paint our guest room Shoji White…I am not kidding. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    17. These aren’t really devotionals but an amazing resource I’ve been using lately are videos by The Bible Project. From their website- “The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.” The videos are SO well done. They have them for every book of the Bible, as well as ones about various themes and word studies. Check them out! They’d be a great tool for doing Bible study with the family.

    18. I also would recommend Write the Word ) I use this along with a study Bible.

      I have the SRT Bible also and love it!

    19. Thanks for the devotional suggestions.
      Under the post where it says “Related”, a link to your Thank You notes with the verse from Philippians came up. When I click through to that post, there is a place to click to the archives to get the notes, but I can’t find them. Am I doing something wrong or have they been removed?

    20. Thank you so much for sharing about not being a morning person. I am the same and I also tried for years to get up earlier (like everyone recommends) but it just doesn’t work for me. I like to lie in bed too and say a morning prayer. It’s usually more like 10 am when I sit down with my coffee and devotion. I guess we have to find what works for us! Thanks for the book recommendations.

    21. My daily devotional is “Grace for the Moment” by Max Lucado. I have had it for years and still turn to it daily. I am always interested in other books that have daily devotions. I will check them out!

      1. Laura, thank you so much for sharing. I was just going to watch the first few minutes, but I was hooked and watched the whole thing. Amazing! Encouraging! Emily, if you see this comment, I highly highly recommend the facebook link above!! I truly think you will love it. :)

      2. Aimee Kollmansberger

        So i am catching up on reading blogs (and hardly EVER read the comments!) but decided to read the comments to find some ideas, and WHHHUUUUTT!?! A super fun surprise to see you link to my FB Live! Thanks so much and I am glad you and April found it helpful!

    22. This has decided me–I just ordered She Reads Truth! I’d looked at it online many times but since I have a Bible in which I’ve done much reading and notetaking, I’d resisted the beautiful SRT as a self-indulgence. But I don’t own a Christian Standard Version and I like the idea of comparing texts. Beauty feeds my soul, too, and the SRT is SO beautiful!

    23. Thank you for sharing these book recommendations… I am definitely going to get at least one of them! I really appreciate your willingness to share your faith and I didn’t know you contributed to She Reads Truth! That’s really awesome! My dream is to illustrate Christian publications and books full time now that my kids are grown!

    24. Lysa TerKeurst just released a new devotional called “Embraced”. The book cover itself is a work of art, a beautiful teal with gold lettering and it’s textured! I love this author because she tells fun stories but then dives into a hard core Jesus message. This is a great devotional! And looks pretty on your nightstand :-)

      1. My friend has also suggested this devotional to me! She said it is amazing. I’ve done several of her Bible studies and have seen her in person before for a ladies weekend retreat. She is great!

    25. Paul Tripp’s book is great! I gave several as Christmas gifts this last year. His book White as Snow is also wonderful.

    26. It’s like you’re in my head…..that is soooo me! Laying in bed thinking, processing, maybe falling back asleep….my bed just sucks me in and won’t let go! LOL
      I’d like to try and start my day with more focus instead of making it from one point to another by the skin of my teeth. Thanks for the recommendations.

    27. I am definitely not a morning person, so I usually fit in my longer Bible study time later in the day. But I agree that it still really helps to just point my mind to Jesus first thing in the morning, even just for a minute. I love the Solid Joys devotionals (either the app or the new podcast version!) by Desiring God. They are short, grounded in Scripture and elevate my thoughts above this world!

    28. I too struggle to make extra time for myself in the mornings (I really like the snooze button). Thank you for the book recommendations. My long time go to Bible is an NIV Study Bible, but I’ve been swooning over the SRT one since it came out. Maybe I should ask for it Mother’s Day. :)

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