Summer 2020 Book Recommendations

Summer 2020 Book Recommendations

 Summer 2020 Book Recommendations

I have read a whole lot of books during the great quarantine of 2020. I can’t recommend all of them, but some were a lot of fun or truly inspiring or educational. (I love learning new things – gotta keep that empty nest mind full)! If you are looking for Summer 2020 Book Recommendations, read on for the best of what I have found.

I have loved my Audible membership this past year. We have listened to books while traveling to see our kids and during the quarantine I would get in my car and drive around listening to books just to get out of the house. They are also great to listen to if you have a mindless task you are working on.

I have read (unless otherwise noted) every book on the list and have divided them into “Loved,” “Liked,” and “Wish I hadn’t.” I am including many of the books I have read in 2020. I had a surprising number of duds this year. I won’t include them all, but sometimes you need to tell people why they might not like a book as well as recommend good book.s


For more book recommendations:

50 Books by 50 Years Reading Challenge

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

summer 2020 books to read

Summer 2020 Book Recommendations


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  


“The Late Show” by Michael Connelly


Michael Connelly introduces a new character, Detective Renée Ballard, in “The Late Show.” My husband and I started listening to the series on our trips to see our children this past fall and winter. These are fun detective books with great characters. Detective Bosch (of previous Connelly books and of the tv show) teams up with Detective Ballard in the 2nd and 3rd books. If you are a fan of the show, listen to the audible versions because Titus Welliver reads his part. LOVED!

“Maybe You Should Talk To Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” gives a candid look at the world of therapy through the eyes of Lori Gottlieb, who is both therapist and patient in this book. If you have ever been to therapy, thought about therapy, or have no idea about therapy, this book is for you. It is funny and poignant and often too-close-to-home. LOVED!



summer 2020 books to read

“The Unseen World” by Liz Moore

“The Unseen World” follows the life of Ada Sibelius, the shy daughter of a single and very eccentric father. After her father is diagnosed with alzheimers and is unable to care for himself, she learns that he is hiding a big secret. Her quest to unravel her father’s past as she journeys through her life will keep you turning the pages. One reviewer says that the author takes too long to reveal the real story. But when she does, your jaw will drop. Your jaw will drop again when you finish the epilogue. LOVED!

summer 2020 books to read

“The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewell

I became a Lisa Jewell fan this year. I have read “The Family Upstairs,” “I Found You,” and “Watching You” this year. I LOVED “The Family Upstairs” and “I Found You.” I LIKED “Watching You.”

“The Family Upstairs” follows three characters, two in the present, and one from the past. Of course, you know they are all going to meet up in the end. Jewell writes great psychological thrillers that are not too rough or creepy. I noticed that another of her books, “Then She was Gone” is on the Amazon’s best sellers list even though it was written in 2018, so of course, it is now on my list. LOVED!

Summer 2020 Books to Read

“The Fountains of Silence” by Ruta Sepetys


I mostly loved “The Fountains of Silence.” It is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Spain. The book is full of interesting and unique characters including the teenage son of a Texas oil tycoon, a pair of impoverished Spanish grave diggers/bull fighters, and a hotel maid among others. The ending of the book is a little Hallmark Christmas movie-esque, but sometimes that is what we need. In between the fun characters and the cheesy ending is a great story. MOSTLY LOVED.


summer 2020 book recommendations

“The Giver of Stars” by Jo Jo Moyes

“The Giver of Stars” tells the story of the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky, a group of women who deliver books on horseback to poor families. There was a lot to like about this book – an intriguing historical fiction story and mostly likeable characters. I found some of the characters a bit cliché and stereotyped and that is why I liked, but not loved this book. LIKED!

summer 2020 books to read

“Say You’re Sorry” by Melinda Leigh

“Say You’re Sorry” is the first book in the Morgan Dane series. Morgan is the widow of a man killed in Iraq. She is ready to go back to work as a prosecutor after taking time off to be with her children when she is dragged into a murder case when her neighbor is accused of a murder he did not commit. I really liked her character and would like to read more in this series. The story was a little predictable, but I can forgive that for good characters. This book was free in Kindle Unlimited, so that is a bonus. LIKED!

summer 2020 books to read

“The Killer Collective” by Barry Eisler

I listened to “The Killer Collective” on Audible. I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I had read it. The author reads it himself. He is one of the best narrators I have ever heard. He moves seemlessly from character to character, convincingly voicing several accents. The story is of a an ad hoc group of former military, police, and spies who team up to take down a child pornography ring. LIKED.

summer 2020 books to read

“Bear Town” by Fredrick Backman

I would describe “Bear Town” as “Friday Night Lights” in the snow. It’s small town hockey in Sweden and you quickly realize that Americans are not the only ones crazy serious about their kids’ sports. Fredrik Backman writes beautifully and developes complex characters. There is now a sequel to this book featuring more hockey and more sports drama. LIKED.


Summer 2020 books to read

“Strike Me Down” by Mindy Mejia

I wanted to read this book because the main character is a forensic accountant. As a former accountant it sounded interesting. The premise is that a kickboxing company with a world-renowed kickboxing star as the face of the company has lost $20 million. The more I read the book the more preposterous the whole thing became. The accounting firm never asked the most obvious questions: “Where is the money supposed to be and how is it missing?” “How do you go months on end thinking there are millions of dollars in a bank account when there isn’t?” And “No one ever reconciled the bank statement?!!?” The main character is also in an open marriage. Maybe some would disagree, but I cannot fathom that this is really a happy situation. WISH I HAD NOT READ. 

I read a number of books that I would describe as merely “so so.” If you read a lot, it isn’t possible to love every book you read. I wanted to give you a sample of the books I read. Use this list of Summer 2020 Books to Read to find something new for yourself. Be sure to comment below with the books you have loved, liked, and wished you had not read below.

Join the Community

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More from Almost Empty Nest:

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Bible Verses for Empty Nesters

Bible Verses for Empty Nesters

Bible Verses for Empty Nesters

Most of us do not plan for the day after we  leave a child at college or move them into their first apartment. We help our child choose a school, buy the things on the dorm shopping list, and book a hotel room for the big day, but it never occurs to us to plan for what comes next. Fortunately, we are not the first people to undergo change.

The Bible is full of people who navigated through change. Read through the Bible Verses for Empty Nesters and the principals we can use for guidance and direction on how to survive and thrive though Empty Nesting.

For more Empty Nest Resources:

Why Does an Empty Nest Make us Sad (and what to do about it)

The 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

10 Things I Love About Being an Empty Nester

Take the Empty Nest Super Power Quiz

Bible Verses for Empty Nesters


Here are 8 Bible Verses for Empty Nesters to help you survive and thrive as you move forward in your empty nest.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Even though you are undergoing the largest change you have experienced since having children, rest assured that Jesus Christ is the same. Everything changes, but not Jesus. He is still here and ready to guide you as you embark on this new phase in life. He is the steady lighthouse. You may feel like a tiny ship tossed about in a huge change, but there is an unchanging God to draw near to.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to plant and a time to uproot, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Solomon tells us there is a time for everything including a time to plant our families and a time to uproot them. If sending our kids into the world isn’t uprooting, I am not sure what is. Something that was constant for more than 18 years has changed. You are in a season of uprooting and you should not feel guilty for experiencing this season. You are allowed to grieve. You are allowed to take your grief to God. 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

There is more to come. This is not the end. Whether you are just sad because you feel worked out of the best job you ever had or there is more going on like marriage difficulties, depression, or unresolved conflict with your child, God will help you find the new. You can repair your marriage. You can be healed from depression. You can resolve conflict and you can realize the dreams of your heart.


So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:12-14

Repeat after me. YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD. You have plenty of life left to pursue dreams, discover new experiences and relationships, and love the life you are living. If God can give Sarah a child at 90 years old, then He can give you a wonderful and fulfilled empty nest.


By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

You are going to have to take some steps in faith. Fulfillment will not happen while you are watching Netflix and snacking. Fulfillment will happen when you turn your plans over to God and start walking in faith.


And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Ruth 2:2

What does walking in faith look like? It looks like taking some initiative. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi arrived back in Israel alone and hungry. Ruth decided to do something about their situation and go find some food. God blessed her initiative. The very next verse says “as it turned out” the field belonged to a relative. If you know the rest of the story, that relative became their kinsmen redeemer and married Ruth. Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David.


Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. Ecclesiates 7:10

It is wonderful to count the days with your children at home as some of your most precious blessings, but do not remain in those days. You will miss the blessings of today or tomorrow by longing for the past. You have so much more ahead if you will allow the Lord to lead you there.


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

You may not know yet exactly where you are headed or even where you want to be headed. Take it all to the Lord. Ask for guidance. Seek his answers and knock on a lot of doors. It may take time. It will take work. Enjoy the journey. 


I hope these Bible verses for empty nesters will inspire you as much as they did me as I transitioned from full-time mom to empty nesting writer and blogger. I wake up every day telling myself, “You are NOT TOO OLD.” Take some initiative like my girl Ruth and get out there and make things happen!

Do you have any favorite Bible Verses for Empty Nesters? Share them in the comment section below.

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.



If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More from Almost Empty Nest:

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Empty Nest Hobbies

Empty Nest Hobbies

Empty Nest Hobbies


Finding yourself in an empty nest can be both scary and exciting. Suddenly you have a lot more time on your hands. No more weekend sports and activities or waiting up for your teen to get in at night. It may be time to remember all those things you were gonna do “someday” and actually do them – like taking up a new hobby.

This post lists over 50 new Empty Nest Hobbies for you to consider at you think about how you would like to spend your time now that your last child is off to college.

For more Empty Nest Resources: Why Does an Empty Nest Make Us Sad (and what to do about it)

Empty Nest Hobbies

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. Thank you for supporting Almost Empty Nest.

Depending on your personality and interests there are so many possibilities for an empty nest hobby. I have linked to other posts on Almost Empty Nest and other bloggers who blog about these hobbies so you can get more information about how to get started and how to enjoy your new hobbies to the fullest.

Empty Nest Hobbies for Adventurers

  • Travel
  • RV travel: Follow my friend LuAnn Street and her husband as they blog about their RV adventures at Streets Wander.
  • Camping
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
  • Cross Fit

Adventure, Outdoor Loving, and Physically Active Hobbies During a Pandemic

  • My husband who uses exercise (cross fit) as his main stress relief during normal times has purchased a Peloton bicycle. We are all waiting by the front door for its arrival. The problem with a Peloton is it is pricey, but the problems with not exercising are worse – stress, weight gain, and loss of muscle. We may be out of the gyms for quite a while because they are germy places under the best of circumstances, so if you replace your gym membership costs with the monthly cost of a Peloton, we figure it will come out even eventually.
  • If you do not want to invest in a Peloton, there are tons of you-tube videos of workouts and many of your favorite instructors may be making their own videos at this time. I have reconnected with a favorite yoga instructor from the past who is sharing yoga workouts via Facebook live.
  • You can still hike, camp, fish, run and walk outside, work in the yard, and other adventurous activities. You are just going to have to keep your appropriate social distance and wash your hands a lot!
  • Make plans! Get out a notebook and start making your list of everything you are going to do when we are done sheltering in place.
  • Take a virtual tour of another country or someplace you would like to visit with Google Street View.
  • Take a virtual hike through the Redwood Forest.


 Empty Nest Hobbies for those who love the Outdoors

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • RV Travel
  • Bee Keeping
  • Gardening
  • Bird watching
  • Geocaching


Empty Nest Hobbies for those who love staying Physically Active

  • Cross Fit
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Yoga


Empty Nest Hobbies for those who want to Connect with Others

  • Volunteering
  • Dance Lessons
  • Entertain/throw parties or start a dinner club
  • Exercise classes
  • Whatever your interest join a club and explore your hobby with other enthusiasts.


Pandemic Activities for Connectors and Servers

There is no one harder hit by the shelter in place orders than those who thrive on connection, so here are some suggestions:

  • I saw the most amazing activity on a Facebook post. A neighborhood had a gathering OUTSIDE, using a yardstick to make sure everyone who was not living in the same household was sitting more than 6 feet apart. They played all sorts of games like ice breaker questions and chirades. The hostess put preprepared cards in baggies for each family along with gloves. There was a grand prize of a face mask and a roll of toilet paper for the winner. So get to planning a neighborhood party.
  • Maybe plan a socially distant neighborhood graduation ceremony for the high school seniors in your area.
  • If you have not learned how to use some of the amazing technology for facetiming and zooming, it is time to do so. Call up a teen or anyone with knowledge and have them make a video for you showing you how to facetime, how to throw a Zoom party, or how to use your Alexa calling feature, then call them now!
  • Use the above technologies to host game nights and other fun virtually. You are going to have to get creative, but you can do this. No one is better at planning get-togethers than you, so get after it!
  • Servants, now is your time to shine. You may not be able to do your normal volunteer activities, but there are plenty of things to do like calling the lonely and talking to them. Make or buy cards and send them. Make care packages. For ideas see Care Package Ideas.
  • If you have money to spare, get takeout from local restaurants or buy gift cards from them and other local retailers to use in the future.
  • Donate to your church or other charities to help those families who have lost income during this time.
  • If you are willing and have time, you might consider signing up as a food delivery person or store shelf stocker. You can make some extra money, get out of the house, and shorten the wait times for those waiting on grocery and other deliveries.


Empty Nest Hobbies for Creatives

Creating and Learning during a Pandemic

Well, creators and Learners are in their element right now and may even be secretly enjoying the extra time to work on creative and learning activities. The problem comes in making sure you have the supplies you need. I get about 3 emails a day from Michaels saying that you can order online and pick things up curbside. Other online retailers are also a possibility.




Empty Nest Hobbies for those who love to Learn

  • Go back to school
  • Reading
  • Learn a new language
  • Technology
  • Financial Planning
  • Start a podcast
  • Collecting

Learning During a Pandemic:

Good news, learners, there is not much learning that cannot be done online. Amazon is offering TWO MONTH FREE TRIALS on Kindle Unlimited Subscriptions right now.


Empty Nest Hobbies for Inspirers

  • Volunteer for organizations who advocate for your interests
  • Join a political campaign
  • Write letters to the editor of newspapers
  • Write your congressman
  • Teach others about your areas of advocacy
  • Start a blog about your interests
  • Post inspirational messages on social media
  • Vow to build others up with your desire to inspire


Inspiring During a Pandemic

You are the one who is supposed to keep us sane during this crazy time. It may be tempting to beat everyone over the head with your opinions about how all of this should be handled, but keep your opinions at the minimum and your inpiration at the maximum. Post inspiring messages on social media encouraging everyone to work together and assuring us all that we can get through this. Post funny things. Post uplifting things. Encourage those who are obviously down. You know we can do this, so grab that bullhorn and let us all know that we can as well!


I hope you will use these ideas for Empty Nest Hobbies to enrich your life and have fun. While no hobby ever replaces your children, it can be exhilarating to discover new things and explore ideas you have always wanted to, but never had the time to before.


What is Your

Empty Nest Super Power?

How to Own Your Nest, Live your Passion, and Love your Life!


More from Almost Empty Nest:

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10 Things I Like About Empty Nesting

10 Things I Like About Empty Nesting

10 Things I Like About Empty Nesting


My husband and I are settling into our empty nest. We are learning the fun things about empty nesting and the not-as-fun things. While it has been a huge adjustment, we are finding our way and I am ready to share 10 Things I Like About Empty Nesting.

Read all of my Empty Nest posts.



 10 Things I Like About Empty Nesting


I get the Best and Softest Throw Blanket

Yes, we fight over the throw blankets at our place. When the kids come home for Christmas, I will be relegated back to the not so soft blankets. But for now, EVERY TIME I watch tv, I get the best one.


I Don’t Have to Wear Make Up Everyday Anymore

I know that the cool, hip, younger moms of today go up to their kids’ schools in yoga pants and no makeup, but I never did. I got dressed every darn day, did my hair, and put on makeup. Now that I work at home, somedays I wear my pajamas until 3pm.


No More Juggling Cars in the Driveway

We have a huge circle driveway that runs the length of our acre lot, but somehow we still could not park all 5 cars without someone being boxed in or someone blocking the circle drive. For heaven’s sake, my precious offspring, how hard is it to pull all the way forward under the porte-cochere and not take up both lanes?


Less Laundry and Dishes

Ok, this one is obvious – less laundry and dishes. It’s amazing to me how much less laundry and dishes a couple produces as opposed to a family of 3 (the size of our household the previous 2 years). I now run my dishwasher about 3 times a week instead of what seems like 3 times a day when everyone is here.

I do about four loads a week of laundry now. When there were 5 of us, the washer and dryer ran continuously. Instead of always having a pile (or piles) of laundry on the couch to fold in the evenings, I get it all done in one or two nights.



We ran like crazy for years from one kid’s activity to another. We loved (almost) every minute of it and would not go back and limit their activities at all. We once sat through a state semi-final football game that our daughter was cheering for when it was 35 degrees and raining. We have sat through  30 mile per hour winds and 40 degree temperatures while she pole vaulted. We have traveled the country going to show choir competitions (fortunately indoors). We have been to everything from Academic Bowl competitions to cross country meets to film festivals. It has been 105 degrees and 25 degrees at these various events. Wow! It was fun, but exhausting.

Do you know what we do on Saturdays now? We watch “College Game Day” and then one football game after another until it is time for bed. Sometimes my husband goes out on a 20 mile bike ride without worrying about what time he needs to be back so we can do whatever is scheduled for the day. If I want to shop, read, or work on a project, I have time for it.

We have not figured out what our activity is going to be after football season is over yet. I am making a list of projects. I was in one of my son’s rooms earlier today. I think a huge clean out is in order for this winter.



It may not be fair to say we are now “traveling.” Our traveling consists of going to see our kids. One lives in Hoboken, New Jersey so that counts as travel because we do things in New York City while we are there. But we are also enjoying burning up the highway to Waco, Texas and Austin, Texas a few times a semester. We talk. We listen to podcasts and audio books. 16 hours in the car pretty much flies by as we road trip it.

It is fun to see the kids in their environment, go to their football games, and take them to dinner. We laugh because we are now “choir boosters” again as one son is singing with the Longhorn Singers at UT. Yes, we went to their fall show.


No more extra-curricular activity parent politics

Oh my. Does it get any worse than dealing with mean parents hell-bent on pushing their agendas in a kid’s activity?  I do not miss this.


Funny Texts and Phone Calls from the Kids

Kids who are learning to adult have a few questions. My favorite was from my oldest: “I have the big block of cheese. What else do I need to make queso dip?” I was also a fortunate recipient of the “How Do I Cook A Turkey in the Microwave?” joke that the college kids were sending their parents a year ago. Yes, I argued with him for a while before finding out it was a joke.

Our middle son face timed us during a football game one Saturday evening and we watched it together for several hours. I even sat the phone in “his chair” for a little while. I think sometimes they just want to feel home.

A highlight this year was my daughter calling and describing a date that did not go well (for the boy). Don’t expect a girl with two older brothers to back down when you decide to man ‘splain your opinion on an issue to her.


Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store

My husband may not be as on board with this as I am. Sometimes the pickin’s are slim at our place these days. I do go to the grocery store, but not almost every day like when the kids were home. (I admit it. I am a terrible meal planner, so I was always running to the store for dinner items or any of a 100 things we needed.) It is a lot easier to figure out a meal with what is on hand when you are only cooking for two.

The gourmet grocery store down the hill from me also has these great “meal for two” kits. I am all about that! And going to the butcher counter and saying, “I’ll take 2 salmon filets” or “two of those pre-seasoned chicken breasts.” Easy peasy. I even go in there in my yoga pants and no makeup. 


They Do Come Home

And what fun we have! The house gets loud. The driveway is full of cars. I get the ratty throw blankets. The dishwasher and washer and dryer run continuously. There is never enough food. It costs a ton to go to the grocery store. We worry about what time they are coming home. The house is a mess. We can’t find the remote controls. We take out loans to go to the movies. It is a blessed time.

And then we hug and kiss them, send them on their ways, and pray, pray, pray. 



Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.



If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

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How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30


Many years ago I read an article about How to Make New Year’s Resolutions. The author said that you should make a resolution in each of these categories: financial, social, intellectual, and physical. Because I was a Christian, I added a spiritual category.

Several years later, after reading Mark 12:30, it occurred to me that every goal, whether physical, financial, social, or intellectual is ultimately a spiritual goal. We are called to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) Our entire being works together in everything we do to honor our creator. This post tells you How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30.

A FREE PRINTABLE 18 Page Workbook is available to assist you as you make your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions.

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30


Taking time to review the year behind and plan for the year ahead is a process everyone should undertake. As the Christmas decorations come down and we begin to rest from the frenzy of the prior days, sitting down for a few hours with a notebook, a pen, and a warm beverage to plan the year ahead is a gift we should give ourselves. Here are some steps to help you through the process:

Meditate on Mark 12:30.

“Love the Lord your God with all your HEART (relationships with others) and with all your SOUL (relationship with God) and with all your MIND (my intellect and skills) and with all your STRENGTH (my body, my finances, my time, my surroundings.)

HEART: relationships with others. Think about the relationships in your life. What do you need to do to improve these relationships? What relationships do you need to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? How can you live at peace with yourself and others?

Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

SOUL: relationship with God. What do you need to do to become closer to God?

        Psalm 119:175:  “Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.”

        I can’t recommend enough reading the entire chapter of Psalm 119 as you think on your  relationship with God

MIND: A vast category of learning and expanding. It’s not a category of just eliminating the pollutants, but enriching our thoughts with good books, good ideas, new skills, new people. Learn something new this year and use that skill in service to God and man.

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

James 1:5:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

STRENGTH: physical goals – the bulk of most resolutions – weight, exercise, diet, finances, home improvement, careers, etc. This category could be called “taking care of business.”

These items are the things that strengthen or weaken our hearts, souls, and minds. If our “business” is out of whack, it strains our relationships with others and with God and keeps our minds focused in the wrong place. If our hearts, souls, and minds are out of whack, we have difficulty accomplishing our strengthening goals.

We may even add harmful habits to distract us from our hearts, souls, and minds. Think about what business you need to take care of. What to you need to do to keep your body healthy? How are you spending your money? Are you taking care of the home you are blessed with?

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Luke 11:36: “Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Ephesians 4:1: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”

Put your goals in writing.

 The FREE PRINTABLE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKBOOK is a great place to write down your goals for 2020. 


Run some tests.

  • Is it realistic? Is the goal reasonable and accomplish-able or is it just a fantasy?
  • Is it measurable? Should it be measurable? How will you know if you have accomplished your goal or not? Some goals are easy to measure. Did you clean out the closet and give unneeded items to charity or sell them as part of your financial goals? Others are not easily measured, like relationships. While there are concrete, measurable steps that can be taken in your relationships, in the end, only you will know if you are at peace in your relationships.
  • Is it about bananas? Is it a fad or a narrow dictate from an article or book? I reference the lowly banana because periodically I see an article citing the diabolical consequences of eating bananas. Having spent 7 years attending high school cross country and track meets observing thousands of abnormally skinny kids consume millions of pounds of bananas, I can assure you that banana peels make a mess, but they are not the sole cause of an expanding waistline. Realize that certain items, like health and finances, can not be improved with one gimmicky change.
  • Is it a good use of resources and time? There are things that are not worth your time or resources and can become an obsession.

Make a plan – a real one.

Write it down! All the steps! Write them down!

 Be accountable.   

I’m not talking about bearing your soul to everyone on Facebook; just decide who or what is going to spur you on.

 Finally, be patient with yourself.

Resolve to love the person God created and not the one you wished he had created. Just keep moving forward. You can do it.

A new year is a time for self-reflection and planning. Following the instructions for How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Using Mark 12:30 as a guide will help you keep your plans and goals in perspective of the ultimate goal. May you be blessed in the new year.

More From Almost Empty Nest:

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

 The 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters


I have read a whole lot of empty nester books preparing for this post and only one was completely terrible. (I opted not to include it in this list.) Each of these 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters offers something different – some are about the grief of an empty nest, some are about parenting adult children, some aren’t really about empty nesting at all, but are so relevant for our stage of life.

For more empty nest resources and ideas:

What is Empty Nest Syndrome? (And what to do about it)

Bible Verses for Empty Nesters

Over 50 Empty Nest Hobbies

10 Things I Love About Being An Empty Nester

The 10 Best Empty Nest Books


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

Best Books for Empty Nest Syndrome

“Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest” by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates

Best quote from the book:  “It is helpful to articulate the challenges and then choose to focus on the blessings of each distinct season. When we define the challenges and discuss them with others, we discover that we are normal! When we are intentional in looking for the blessings, we discover the joys that God has prepared for us. It’s important to remember that no season lasts forever. We want to really live in each unique time and miss nothing.”

Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates are both involved in Christian ministry. The outline for this book was developed from a gathering they hosted inviting women to come and “join in a lively discussion of the season of the empty nest.” The 23 attendees “ranged from  a mother whose oldest was a sophomore in high school to a young widow whose kids were grown.” 

This book is a very practical guide covering topics like parenting your adult children, menopause, marriage, and “what’s next?” It has a small group and study guide in the back of the book. The book gives practical tips and steps to take in working through the transition to an empty nest including plans for empty nest celebrations with just your husband or with your girl friends.

“Release My Grip” by Kami Gilmore

Best quote from the book:

“…the person I need to keep pointing him (her son) to as he faces these big life choices is not me, it’s God. That is the greatest contribution I can give him as his mother.”

“Release My Grip” is a workbook for Christian mothers to help us release our tightly held grips on our children and entrust our children to God. A friend of mine said this in an empty nest facebook group: “I am not sure who recommended the book, ‘Release My Grip,’ but I wanted to say ‘thank you.’ It was a really good read.”

Each chapter of this book includes a touching and sometimes humorous story by the author. She also includes journal prompts, other activities and prayers. One chapter even deals with what to do when your child calls and is out of money. Allowing our child some financial discomfort is not something we are immediately comfortable with.

Kami says in the introduction, “The stories in this book are a collection of ‘aha’ moments I journaled while standing knee-deep in the season of releasing my grip as my daughter left the nest followed by my son a few years later.”

“A View from an Empty Nest” by Bonnie Beth Sparrman

Best Quote in the Book: 

“And give yourself time. You didn’t adjust to motherhood overnight, and the same is true for letting them go.”

“A View from an Empty Nest” is a small devotional book and would make a great gift for a new empty nest mom. There are 42 chapters that are short and can be read in less than 5 minutes. Her subtitle is “Surprising, Poignant, Wonderful Things on the Horizon.”

Bonnie aims through her devotionals to lead the empty nester to a peaceful, happy, and fulfilled life. She encourages us to work on our marriages and to lean on God during this transition.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul”

I don’t have a quote from this book because it is a different sort of book. It is a collection of stories written by many authors about their empty nest experiences. Many are quite touching and tear-jerking, so if you are in the throws of grief, this may not be the book for you. The book gives you empathy and lets you know others feel like you do, but it does not give tips to get past the grief.

I enjoyed many of the stories as they are so well written and not preachy. I appreciated that there were also stories from parents whose nests will never be empty because their children have disabilities. This book is appropriate for people of all faiths.

Best Books for Parenting Adult Children

“Empty Nest, Full Life” by Jill Savage

Best Quote in the Book: 

“What if you did not think of it as ‘too late’ but rather as ‘just in time’ to make a difference in the second half of your marriage, or in your ability to have a healthy relationship with your adult kids, or to influence young lives as a grandparent, or for you to experience the freedom you long for?”

I had a hard time coming up with just one quote because this book contained so many. It is the deepest, most vulnerable, and raw of all of the books I read. The first half of the book concerns relationships with adult children. She has truly struggled and come out the other side including loving her homosexual son and his friends and dealing with mental illness in another son. Her insight into what drives us as parents to try to control our adult children and beat ourselves up if they do not “turn out” like we would have wanted is unmatched in any of the other books I read.

Another quote:

“… I’d made my children’s behavior an idol. I was using them to define myself. In order to have a healthy relationship with my kids, I had to let go of my idols.”

The second half of the book is about the empty nest, our relationships with our spouses, and how we plan to live out the rest of our lives. She is very encouraging and gives many practical tips for a “full life.”

“Doing Life with Your Adult Children” by Jim Burns

Best Quote in the Book: 

“No parent wants to see a child end up homeless, make unwise decisions, or lead a negative lifestyle. But this is where parents must face their fears and decide what is best for their child in the long run.”

“Doing Life with your Adult Children” is a practical guide to having good relationships with your grown children. He covers topics such as when to insert your opinion, avoiding entitlement, in-laws, and stepfamilies, grandchildren, and financial planning (including estate planning) with your kids.

Other Helpful Empty Nest Books

“Back Roads to Belonging” by Kristen Strong

Best Quote in the Book: 

“Could it be, in those dark times of change, when we long to belong in a larger place but see no evidence of growth there, that the growth is moving in a downward direction? That growth is happening where roots reach and spread and become stronger? Yes, because growth still happens in the dark, and good things grow from lowly, dark places”

Kristen Strong is no stranger to change, having moved many times during her husband’s military career. Kristen’s experiences of having to find new places to belong every few years shadow the life of a new empty nester looking for new places to belong now that the years of finding friends in booster clubs and chaperoning youth group are over. Her words are soothing and inspiring and give practical tips for finding your place after big changes.

“The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Best Quote in the Book: 

“Happiness isn’t apart from God. It is a part of him.”

“The Happiness Dare” takes on the often held Christian belief that God is not interested in our happiness. As empty nesters finding new avenues of joy and happiness is essential to our health. I shared insight from this book in the post Why an Empty Nest Makes Us Sad. She absolutely nails what sometimes robs us of joy as our children leave.

“Slay Like a Mother” by Katherine Wintsch

Best Quote from the Book:

“The negative voice in your head is an overly dramatic interpretation of what’s going on in your life, as told by the most fragile parts of your ego.”

One of the most moving experiences of the last few months for me involved this book. I attended a blogging conference and Katherine Wintsch was one of the speakers.

We each entered the room to find a copy of “Slay Like a Mother” in our chairs. I did not know many people at the conference and I sat down next to a very young woman on the end of an aisle. The lights went down in the room and a video began to play. The video was of women reading the last negative thing they had said to themselves off of index cards. Then pairs of women told each other what they had written down. In each case the women embraced each other and encouraged the other that she was better than what was on that card. There was not a dry eye in the room.

Then the lights came up and Katherine told us to turn to the person next to us and tell her the last negative thing we had said to ourselves. I said, “I can’t do this” – meaning the conference. I was scared out of my mind because the people there were BIG TIME and had sponsors and the speakers were bloggers with STAFFS!! I am a small one gal operation. The girl next to me then said, “Everyone would be better off without me.”

I immediately hugged her and tears came down my cheeks because, Girl, I have thought that way more times than I would like to admit. And I know it is NOT TRUE, but sometimes we women are that down on ourselves.

I recommend this book with full disclosure that IT IS NOT A CHRISTIAN BOOK. However, as women who have reached midlife, we often have issues that we have struggled with for 30+ years that we have never dealt with and it may be time to deal. I am taking advantage of having more time than ever by reading books like this, seeing a therapist, and listening to positive books and podcasts. If you have even one “issue,” I encourage you to read “Slay Like a Mother.”

It is actually written for younger mothers, but the principals are the same. We all need to learn “How to Destroy What’s Holding You Back so You Can Live the Life You Want.”


“All My Friends Have Issues” by Amanda Anderson

Best Quote from the Book:

I listened to this book on Audible, so it is hard to go back and find the BEST quote, but here is the first line of the first chapter.

“Bathrooms, though unhygienic and accident-likely places to use one’s phone, are often where I make and receive important, authentic communications.”

Amanda Anderson writes a funny and poignant book about friendships (and why we need them even if everyone we meet is imperfect). As empty nesters we often have to find new friends. She encourages us that it is worth the effort. I enjoyed listening to this book because it is read by the author and she is genuinely funny!! I have now ordered the paperback version of “All My Friends Have Issues,” so I can go back and highlight everything that you can’t highlight while you are driving a car. I am also thinking about using it for a small group I am in.


These are my Top 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters. I would love to know if you have read any books that would give encouragement to women who are empty nesters. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.


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Empty Nest Super Power?

How to Own Your Nest, Live your Passion, and Love your Life!


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