Favourite Books for Life

20 July 2020|

I love reading.

From a little girl, I was like a little Matilda with my nose in a book and winning the Gold book marks in school assembly for reading so many books in a week, month and year. As an only child, I think books were my escape, my little world of wild imagination – the characters being my imaginary friends.

Always reading, always learning…

Although I definitely favoured fiction to non-fiction. Even now as an adult, self-help books are not really my thing yet I have fallen in love with so many incredible books written by inspiring women and men based on their lives, their loves and their valuable life lessons.

My Books To Live By

Bible by Jesus | Our book of life, our book of everything, our book of Him. The book that is the centre of our home, our lives and hearts. It needs no introduction – but every home and life needs one to live by.

The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson | How to make home your family’s favourite place to be… all year long. Does your home sometimes feel just a place to eat, sleep, and change clothes on the way to the next activity? Do you long for “home” to mean more than a place where you stash your stuff? Wouldn’t you love it to become a haven of warmth, rest and joy? … the one place where you and your family can’t wait to be? Every day of your family’s life can be as special and important to you as it already is to God. This book is designed to help your family enjoy and celebrate every month of the year together, you’ll discover the secrets of a life-giving home from a mother who created one and her daughter who was raised in it. Together they offer a rich treasure of wise advice, spiritual principles, and practical suggestions. You’ll embark on a new path to creating special memories for your children, establishing home-building and God-centred traditions, and cultivating an environment n which your family will flourish. review:  This book transformed the way I view, appreciate and run our home. It gave me the faith and belief that our home will be a place of love, comfort and joy for our girls now and forever – a place they will forever want to come home to. I practice so many of these tips in our home, delicious baked goods in our oven, Worship music as our background home anthem, lighting candles for no special reason and to celebrate milestones and adopt fun and memorable family traditions. In the realm of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere at home, music can play a significant role. Whether it’s strumming a guitar to serenade your loved ones or simply enjoying the sounds of musical instruments, creating a melodic and harmonious environment is essential. For those who love the guitar and are looking for quality parts and accessories, consider exploring “Boya Guitar Parts,” a resource to enhance your musical experience and contribute to the cozy ambiance of your home.

The Life-Giving Parent by Sally Clarkson | In today’s world, its easy to become overwhelmed and even paralysed by the constant flow of parenting advice. We’re flooded with so much practical information that we wonder if we’re choosing the right way. And we may be missing the one thing God really wants us to give our children: His life. God doesn’t include a divine methodology for parenting in the Bible, but He doesn’t provide principles that can enable any faithful parent to bring His life into the life of their home. In this book, the authors explore the – heartbeats of life-giving parenting – to shed light on what it means to create a home where your children will experience the living God in your family. As parents of four grown children – each with their own unique personality and gifts – the authors have learned that the key to shaping a heart begins at home as you foster a deep and thoughtful God-infused relationship with each child. review: Another incredible book, one that is the gift that keeps on giving. The authors’ eight key principles or heartbeats of parental life-giving, were beyond valuable: numbering your child’s days, nurturing your child’s spirit, guarding your child’s heart, renewing your child’s mind, strengthening your child’s faith, shaping your child’s will, cultivating your child’s character, and forming your child’s imagination.

Grace not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley | As a busy wife, mother, business owner and designer, Emily Ley came to the point where she suddenly realised she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organise her days, prioritise the priorities. She decided to hold herself to a standard of grace not perfection. This led to the creation of her bestselling Simplified Planner – a favourite among busy women everywhere – from mamas to executives and everywhere in between. This book takes that message from a daily planner to a an inspirational book that encourages women to simplify and prioritise. This book gives women tangible ways to simplify their lives to give space to what matters most. With a focus on faith, Emily reminds readers that God abundantly pours out grace on us – and that surely we can extend that grace to ourselves. review: Every word and page spoke to me as a busy, young mum. And I found myself taking notes and highlighting important take-aways in each chapter. This is a book you just keep going back to refer to. The three parts include: Grace with yourself, Grace with your people and Grace in your calling, and my favourite key lessons: Good is better than perfect, Savor the messiness and the chaos, and Choose the life you want to live.

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley | Clear the clutter once and for all. Do you long to simplify the demands on your time, energy and resources? Have complicated responsibilities, overwhelming to-do lists, and endless clutter left you feeling overwhelmed? Buys wife, mom, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Emily Ley knows how you feel. With a growing family, increased work demands, and more, she understand the struggle it is to keep the plates spinning. In this book, you’ll find Emily’s strategies, systems and methods for permanently clearing the clutter, organising your priorities, and living intentionally in 10 key areas – from your home and meal planning, to style and finances, parenting, faith life, and more. Emily will show you how to truly make the most of your days with realistic, achievable and tactical tools. review: I read through each chapter and then used the words and the practical examples and steps to simplify that area of our lives – from meal plans and clever grocery shopping, to clearing out our clothing cupboards, digging deeper into our faith and discovering grace in being a present and intentional mum to our girls. Again, I go back and reference each chapter when I need to read it again.

When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple and Good by Emily Ley | Statistics don’t lie. Moms today are more fatigued, burned out, and overwhelmed than ever. Smartphones constantly ping, and alert and demand our attention. And social media can eat up hours of our days with mindless scrolling and tapping while leaving many feeling empty and lonely. Add to that family commitments, work that is accessible around the clock, and over scheduling, and you have a life that can feel unmanageable and frantic… even running on empty. Emily shares how to live a life of more in a world that often overwhelms to a point of burnout. She empathises with mothers in the throes of exhaustion and provides tools for nourishing their spirits and achieving a life where less becomes more. review: Less rush, more rhythm. less liking, more loving. less noise, more calm. less distraction, more connection. less frenzy, more soul rest. less fake, more real. less fear, more community. less great, more good. less chasing, more cherishing. less stuff, more treasures. These words are everything.

Make It Happen: Surrender your Fear, Take the Leap, Live on Purpose by Lara Casey | You were created for purpose, and it’s time to make it happen. This is the story of how I surrendered my fear, took the leap, and got a life. In my case, a perfectly imperfect, fulfilling life as a mama, a working woman, and a grateful wife. This is the story of how I chose to make “it” – a greater purpose than mine – happen, and how you can too. This book is for women who find themselves worried, anxious, and completely overwhelmed by the constant chase for perfection, those seeking the courage to jump into a new venture, working women who are struggling to “do it all”, weary wives and moms looking for relief from burning the candle at both ends, anyone who dreams of a life not lived by accident but on purpose. Your time has come to take a leap of faith. You know all those things you’ve wanted to do? You should go do them. review: This book was the stepping stone in my Cultivate and Powersheets journey – and it was the reason I flew thousands of miles across the seas to meet and witness Lara Casey in person, at one of her Cultivate conferences. It was a life changing event and a turning point in my life.

Cultivate: A Grace-filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey | A guide to embracing imperfect progress and making what matters happen, little by little. Women often feel like they have to have it all together in order to live a meaningful life. Instead they feel inadequate, overwhelmed, paralysed by fear and insecurity, and are exhausted simply trying to figure out where to begin. Welcome to the journey of getting messy in the rich soil of possibility – embracing imperfect, grace-filled progress to grow a life of joy. Written as part encouragement anthem and part practical guide, this book equips women to uncover and take action on goals that simplify life. Lara’s signature “goal gardening” steps release them from the pressure to achieve and gives them freedom to move from planning to planting. Readers will walk through each season, finding balance as they interact in fresh ways with their current life scenarios, with God, and in the communities where they are planted. review: Lara’s books and podcast have impacted my life in so many ways. I used this book as a ladies bible study and I felt the impact it had on so many others and their hearts, faith and lives. A beautiful read.

Be The Dad She Needs You To Be by Dr Kevin Leman | A call to dads to step up to the plate to become the loving, actively engaged father that a daughter needs for life and relational success. The relationship that matters most to your daughter isn’t the one with her mother – its the one with you, Dad. Her self-esteem, choices behaviour, character, and even her ideas about or choice of marriage partner are all directly tied to you, as the most important representative to her of the male species. In this book, nternationally-known psychologist, New York Times bestselling author, and dad of four daughters, Dr Kevin Leman – will show you not only how to get the fathering job done and done well, but also how to: make each daughter feel unique, special and valued; discipline the right way… when it’s needed; talk turkey about what guys are really thinking; keep the critical eye at bay; wave the truce flag when females turn your family room into a battleground; set your daughter up for life and relational success. With some effort on your part, you can gain the kind of relationship you dream of with your daughter – one based on mutual love and respect. The simple yet profound suggestions will transform you into the kind of man your daughter needs… for a lifetime. review: I know this is a book for Dads but Mums can learn so much from it too, and always gain the knowledge to support our husbands on their fatherhood journey. The fact that my husband read this in one sitting, and now uses it as his “Dad Bible” speaks volumes for the Dad that he already is – but the difficult years are coming, especially with four girls, one mom and a synchronised cycle every month. Haha, he needs all the preparation he can get. And this is a winner! Dr Leman also writes The Birth Order book which is a fascinating read too.

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs  | Based on over three decades of counselling, as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah have already taken the Love & Respect message across America and are changing the way couples talk to, think about, and treat each other. What do you want from your marriage? Want some peace? Want to feel close? Want to feel valued? Want to experience marriage the way God intended? A wife has one driving need: to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need: to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy. When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy. This book reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily, and biblically. review: We have recently started this book, after it was recommend by our close friends and pastors, and almost every couple in our Connect group had confirmed that this book changed their marriages. And we couldn’t agree more. Already.

Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge | Becoming Myself is a hope-filled book for anyone who wonders if her life will ever change – if she will ever change. In her most intimate book yet, Stasi shares her own struggles with self-worth, weight, and her past as she shows readers God is faithfully unveiling who we truly are. She urges you to lay down your past thoughts about yourself and receive God’s incredible dreams for you instead. We cannot heal ourselves. We cannot become ourselves by ourselves. But we are not by ourselves. The King of love wants to help us become. God desires to restore us – the real us. As he heals our inner life, he calls us to rise to the occasion of our lives. The most important journey any woman can take is the journey into becoming her true self through the love of God. It’s a beautiful paradox. The more of God’s you become, the more yourself you become – the “self” he had in mind when he thought of you before the creation of the world. Discover your truest self – the woman God created you to be. review: This is on my nightstand and I am a few chapters in, so I will report back… So grateful for the special friend who gifted me with this gem.

Have you read any of these? What are your favourite books for life?


*Stock image from the beautiful Social Squares *


  1. Thanks for the recommendations. Every since I could remember I had difficulty to concerntrate especially when needing to read a book. Hope that changes for me so I can to enjoy these lovely books.

    1. Aw try starting with just one chapter at night before you go to sleep… It really is calming, can be addictive and helps me stay away from screens before bed x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About me

I'm Caley a thirty-something wife & mummy from Durban, South Africa. Ellie Love Blog is all about me, my family and our beautiful life.


Ellie Stories