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Book Review: "Grace, Not Perfection" by Emily Ley

Book Review: "Grace, Not Perfection" by Emily Ley

I'm not entirely sure when I came across the magic that is Emily Ley, but I do know that it was love at first sight (*insert all of the heart eyes*). As her 6-year old son says, Emily is a "planner maker." Her sweet personality, God-given vocation, and strong faith drew me to follow her as she continued along her entrepreneurial journey. Grace, Not Perfection is Emily's first book, and I was itching to read it for several months but never got my hands on it. After snatching it up at Target a couple months ago, I finally dove in and learned more about the heart and mind behind the beloved planner and stationary brand, Emily Ley Paper, Inc. Here's a summary of Grace, Not Perfection, as provided by Amazon:

As a busy wife, new mother, business owner, and designer, Emily Ley came to a point when she suddenly realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities. She decided to hold herself to a standard of grace rather than perfection. This mantra led to the creation of her bestselling Simplified Planner®, a favorite among busy women everywhere—from mamas to executives and everywhere in between.

Grace, Not Perfection takes this message from a daily planner to an inspirational book that encourages women to simplify and prioritize. Designed with Emily Ley’s signature aesthetic, 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 grace to ourselves.

Have you been told you can have it all, only to end up exhausted and occasionally out of sorts with the people you love? Are you ready for a new way of seeing your time? Learn to live a little more simply. Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard in Grace Not Perfection, and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart.

Five things that I loved about this book:

  1. The physical design of the book. Holy cow - Grace, Not Perfection is one heck of an aesthetically pleasing book. As you can see from the photo above, the outside is comprised of a bright fuchsia, hardback cover (sans book jacket) with beautiful metallic gold lettering and artistic elements. The pages are made of a thicker variety of paper and the typography is vibrant but not overwhelming. Every so often, you'll run into a photo that pays homage to some of Emily's favorite things, like her sweet and smiley kiddos, Simplified Planner® products, and gorgeous office space. Lastly, the color palette of the book is consistent with Emily's personal and professional branding, which will probably come as no surprise to those who follow and adore her work. Oh! I almost forgot - when you're ready to wrap up a chapter and tuck into bed after a long day, a delicate navy blue ribbon can be used to mark your spot.
  2. Learning more about Emily and her experience as an entrepreneur. As someone who's always dreamed of becoming a creative entrepreneur, I was giddy to learn more about Emily's journey with her company. In Grace, Not Perfection, she reminds the reader that her business was once an idea just floating around in the back of her head. Like so many other entrepreneurs, Emily had her moments where she was ridden with fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt. Luckily, she was able to move past those paralyzing feelings and create products that not only fulfill the planning and organizational desires of women all around the globe but harp on Emily's strengths as a creative gal who knows a thing or two about intentional planning and living. If you want to hear Emily share her entrepreneurial story (and her journey writing Grace, Not Perfection), check out her podcast interview that was aired on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey! It's one of my favorites.
  3. Emily's writing. I've filed this book under the reads-like-a-Saturday-afternoon-coffee-shop-conversation category on my bookshelf. It's heartfelt, genuine, and vulnerable. Emily has a background in English and creative writing, and her passion for words and storytelling oozed from the pages like a sweet sap from a maple tree.
  4. The inclusion of scripture that's based on sound theology. A reoccurring topic in Grace, Not Perfection is - yep, you guessed it - grace. I've read numerous books, blog posts, and Instagram captions about this perplexing concept. Like, the Lord just...openly gives us grace? In a world plagued by comparison, self-doubt, and one-upping, it can seem almost impossible to give yourself (and others!) some much-needed grace. To tackle this misconception, Emily incorporates encouraging, real-talk scripture into her writing. After spending time thinking about what I want for myself, I'd be reminded that it's actually not about me. It's all about Him, y'all.

    He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30, NKJV).

  5. Many chapters are workbook-style. If you're asking yourself, "Workbook-style? What's that?" Allow me to explain. Emily covers an assortment of topics throughout the book, including everything from self-care to God-given callings to weekly meal planning (and that's not all, folks!). She asks you thought-provoking questions and gives you ample space via lists, lined pages, or blank boxes to answer them. In some cases, she'll present you with a prompt, like "List three people close to you and ways you can love them unconditionally." The motive of Grace, Not Perfection is to encourage you to grant yourself and others more grace, and focus your energy on the things - whatever they may be - that matter the most. Although I had a difficult time relating to some of the content (i.e. motherhood), the workbook-style was extremely helpful when it came to applying the concepts of grace, joy, and simplicity to my own life. I'm not going to lie - I had to put my thinking cap on to tackle some of the prompts. Overall, I really enjoyed the workbook-style.

Mackenzie's Rating: 4/5 - Vulnerable, thought-provoking, and colorful.

Tell me - are you planning on reading Grace, Not Perfection? If you've already read it, what were some of your favorite takeaways? Write me a comment below and let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

If you'd like to purchase the book and/or read other reviews, choose your favorite online retailer - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, or Target. Happy reading!

Also, if you'd like to learn more about Emily or keep up with her on social media, here are some places to find her - Emily's Instagram and blog. Interested in her planning and organizational products? Check out The Simplified Planner's Instagram and the shop, Emily Ley Paper, Inc.


Thank you so much for reading! If you'd like to keep up with me on social media, you can find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, Twitter, and Goodreads. For more fun and interesting content, check out my YouTube channelIf you’d like to be alerted whenever I publish a new post, you can follow me on Bloglovin’. Are you a blogger too? Let me know the name of your blog - I'd love to check it out!


Photo source of Grace Not Perfection is the Emily Ley Blog.

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