5 Books to Read to Jumpstart the New Year

Looking for some inspiration to get you going this year? I read some great books last year that challenged both my faith and creativity and motivated me to pursue good work and cultivate a deeper devotion. If that’s what you need as you work through goal setting and resolutions, then consider the following titles. These are great books to read to jumpstart 2016.

5 Books to Read to Jumpstart 2016

(this post contains affiliate links)

Start by Jon AcuffStart: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff

I love Jon Acuff! In Start he challenges you to face your fears and pursue awesomeness. We all want to do work that matters in this world and that can only happen when you determine to ditch the mundane and start on the journey to awesome.

I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook (or any of his books on audio for that matter) because Acuff reads his books really well and it’s an extremely entertaining listen!

The Art of Work GoinsThe Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do  by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is another of my favorite authors and in his latest book, he talks about looking at calling and creativity and what it takes to pursuing what you were meant to do in life.

When you can take a passion, that thing that you wake up dreaming about every day, and pair it with the mission to to fulfill the needs of others, you’ve got something wonderful. But it takes rising above the status quo and chasing something more than what society expects of you. No gimmicks here. Just hard work, passion, and a love for your fellow man. I read the hard copy I have (which was great cause I did much underlining!) but you can get the audio as well. Goins reads it himself and it is a pleasure to listen to as well!

Tortured for ChristTortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

Okay, so let’s shift gears to something a bit more intense. I lie — way more intense. I listened to this as an audiobook and amazing doesn’t do this book justice. I’m going to take the liberty and assume that your spiritual life could use some bolstering. Mine always does.

I don’t spend enough time truly considering the religious freedom I enjoy and what Christians have suffered and continue to suffer for the cause of Christ. Don’t start another year forgetting what being a Christian truly means. Start off the year with a spiritual awareness, humility, and boldness to live for Christ in all you do. This book isn’t for the faint of heart but I HIGHLY recommend it. It will give you a series kick in the pants and should send you to your knees in prayer.

Radical David PlattRadical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

This is another kick-in-the-pants kind of book. Not quite as intense as the previous title but inspiring nonetheless.

It’s easy to get comfortable in our microwaved, mega-sized, over-hyped, suburban church culture. But is what we have what Jesus had in mind when He was here? No doubt our experience is worlds different from that of the 1st-century church.

This year, take a counter-cultural look at your Christian experience and challenge yourself to embrace the walk Christ set out for us. I listened to the audiobook version of this one and it was quite enjoyable!

Make it Happen CaseyMake it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take a Leap. Live on Purpose by Lara Casey

This one’s for the ladies. Casey tells the story of her life before she truly got a life. I remember listening to this audiobook in the car and thinking “Yes! I so needed this!”. Life is full of surprises and takes turns that we couldn’t have anticipated. Living in fear isn’t the answer. Embracing purpose and taking chances, trusting God leading and timing is the way to live a meaningful life. If you’re nervous about starting something new, if you’re tired of being stuck in the mundane and don’t know how to get out, if you need encouragement and the assurance that you’re not alone, then read this book. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a heavy audiobook listener and can definitely recommend this one!

Lara Casey also has a great website with some great products that are definitely worth checking out!

What titles do you have on your book list this year?

Happy Reading! 

The blogger at Purple Ink Studios is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

The 2016 Reader's Notebook Page

2016 Operation Deepen Faith

Hosted by Becky @ Operation Actually Read the Bible

This is probably my favorite reading challenge. Not because I’ve been particularly successful at completing it, but I LOVE the concept. This is my 3rd year and I plan on getting a lot accomplished in 2016. I’m really excited cause she’s added some new stuff this year :))

For full details, check out the original post.

Here are the 7 parts in this challenge:

  1. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible.
  2. Sweet Hour of Prayer. Goal: Pray daily.
  3. How Firm A Foundation. Goal: STUDY (meditate too!) one book of the Bible throughout the year.
  4. Deep and Wide. Goal: read multiple books of the bible in multiple translations.
  5. Meditate or Memorize. Goal: Choose about a verse a week–or a verse every other week–to reflect and meditate on.
  6. Choose a Research Project.
  7. Christian Nonfiction.

Optional Choices:

  2. B. BINGO.
  3. C. We Believe.

I’ve chosen the following categories:

  • Wonderful Words of Life.
  • Sweet Hour of Prayer.
  • How Firm A Foundation.
  • Meditate or Memorize.
  • Choose a Research Project.
  • Christian Nonfiction.



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

12 Virtues for the Single Woman

I remember reading about the Proverbs 31 woman when I was a teenager and wondering: 

  1. How in the world does she do it all?
  2. What about if you’re not married?

I decided to answer at least the second question.  So I started reading books about femininity and womanhood and singleness.  Several years later, I’m still reading and learning and goofing up and trying again.  If I’ve learned one thing about the Proverbs 31 Woman, it’s that she didn’t get to be a super woman after she got married.  The woman described in those 11 verses was a woman of great value before she became a wife and mother.  That’s good news for us single gals because that means this passage most definitely applies to us as well.  The life season may be different but there is definitely application sans the hubbie and kiddos.   

So, lister that I am, and after many, many attempts, I’ve finally finished this post on Proverbs 31 for the Single Woman. I’ve settled on 12 virtues that single women should aspire to from the Proverbs 31 model.  This is merely a framework.  There are so many other qualities that can be attributed to this woman but these 12, in my opinion, are foundational.

So single, dating, engaged, or divorced, it’s no matter–this list is for all the wonderful, unmarried hearts who may have wondered how Proverbs 31 applied to them.


1. Woman of Faith (v. 10-31)

The Proverbs 31 Woman has built her life on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ.  He is her Life-Giver, Champion, Defender, and Best Friend.  Everything she says and does is for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).  She finds her life’s mission in His will and she spends her everyday seeking after His heart.  It’s Jesus living in her heart that makes her the loving, hard-working, wise, compassionate woman she is.  She doesn’t worry about the days ahead because He has given her “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).  

2. Woman of Trust (v. 11-12, 26)

Verses 11 and 12 say that her husband’s heart safely trusts her and she does him good and not evil all her days. He knows he doesn’t have to worry about her conduct or judgement.  And he knows this because she’s proven it over time.  She keeps her word and takes care of her relationships.  Her family and friends know that she can be counted on.  

3. Woman of Compassion (v. 15, 20, 26)

The Proverbs 31 Woman is unselfish and giving. With love and compassion, she pays attention to the needs of both those inside and outside her home circle.  She takes care of those she loves with her time and resources and actively shows compassion to those around her who are in need.  

4. Woman of Integrity (v. 26, 29)

A woman who’s husband can trust her in marriage must be a woman of integrity well before the white gown and vows. TheProverbs 31 Woman has developed a character of integrity over the years.  People don’t question her behavior because she conducts herself with uprightness, dignity, honesty, and selflessness.  Verse 29 says that her husband tells her “”Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”” (NKJV)  This isn’t because of her beauty or accomplishments.  She excels because she has allowed Jesus to shine in her life and make her a woman of integrity and that has poured into every aspect of her life.  

5. Woman of Purpose (v. 10-31)

The Proverbs 31 Woman has a purpose in life–do all for God’s glory.  Because she manages her household and businesses so well, we can conclude that these are talents that she nurtured over time. She lived with purpose and drive while she was single and the Lord entrusted her with the precious responsibilities of wifehood, mothering, and business. I’m sure there were screaming two-year olds, bad hair days, failed business deals, and a cranky husband, but her purpose never falters because her life isn’t ultimately about her, it’s about God and allowing Him to use her for His will.    

6. Woman of Industry (v. 13-22, 27, 31)

Not only does this woman know her purpose, she knows how to get it done. She is a shrewd business woman, not afraid to get her hands dirty, uses her creative talents, and makes wise financial decisions. She is not haphazard, frivolous, or lazy. She keeps herself busy because she knows that idleness gives the devil ample room to cause mischief in her life. She manages her time well, knows when to make sacrifices and when to say no. She develops her talents and ensures that she’s doing all she can provide a good future for herself, her husband, and her children.  

7. Woman of Wellness (v. 17, 22)

A person will perform only as well as they take care of themselves. The Proverbs 31 Woman knows that she will only be able to serve her family and succeed in life if she takes care of herself. So she exercises and eats well and takes time to take care of her physical needs. Verse 22 says she even dresses well. There’s nothing about her that’s sloppy or unbecoming–she takes time to make herself look presentable, and feel good. We can assume that she doesn’t spend too much time on herself otherwise she wouldn’t have time for her other responsibilities but she knows the value of a little ‘me’ time to keep from burning out. 

8. Woman of Humility (v. 10-31)

Not only does it take faith to live with a servant’s heart, it also takes humility. The Proverbs 31 Woman is extremely humble. She goes about her work without asking for accolades, recognition, or a gold star. Her humility not only shines through her acts of compassion and generosity, but also through the drama she doesn’t create, and the noise she doesn’t make about the work she does. 

9. Woman of Wisdom (v. 16, 18, 26)

The Proverbs 31 Woman draws from the wisdom she gains over the years. In her business dealings she “considers” (v. 16) and “perceives” (v. 18). She’s learned to do these things over time through experience or education. She doesn’t rush into things without carefully considering the potential outcomes. She listens to and learns from those who are wiser. She also knows the power that words can have and speaks with wisdom and kindness (v. 26). She doesn’t use words to gossip or tear other people down. She thinks before she opens her mouth and carefully chooses her words.

10. Woman of Joy (v. 28)

Christians should be the most joyful people on planet earth because we have Jesus in our hearts. But have you noticed the way we go about our days sometimes? I’m ashamed to say that I’m less than joyful way too often. The husband and children of the Proverbs 31 Woman call her blessed not because she runs a tight ship but because she’s a joy and inspiration in their lives. She has learned the value of being joyful while being purposeful, wise, and industrious. She lives with her heart full and takes pleasure in the simple things in life. She has a sense of humor and is easy to get along with. She doesn’t hold grudges and she is long-suffering in stressful situations. This joy that emanates from her comes from Jesus and her family thrives because of it.  

11. Woman of Contentment (v. 23, 31)

The Proverbs 31 Woman is content with her life’s work. Her husband has his work and responsibilities and she has hers. Together they work for the glory of God and the well-being of their family. She doesn’t begrudge him his work or wish to be doing something different because she knows her purpose and calling. She’s learned to roll with the punches, take the bad along with the good and remain at peace. She, like, the apostle Paul has learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).  

12. Woman of Femininity (v. 10-31)

The Proverbs 31 Woman lives the type of life that has long since been discarded as worthwhile and successful. Running a household and raising children is no longer the desirable life work it used to be. But a Proverbs 31 Woman lives according to what God’s will is for her no matter what may or may not be ‘normal’ or ‘politically correct’. Whether it’s pursuing a career, marriage, singleness, raising children, or a combination of many things, a woman of virtuous femininity will conduct herself with grace, dignity, direction, and love. Femininity starts in the heart and then quickly manifests it’s beauty on the outside and adds character to every unique personality.

There is so much more to say about virtuosity and the single life and over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting more about what I’m learning about this wonderful passage. My plan is to make it a regular feature on the blog every Tuesday, so watch out for it 🙂