Category Archives: books

Books of 2014

Another year, another shelf on the bookcase covered with some new favorites.



Wife After God by Unveiled Wife (blog) Jennifer Smith (blogger) – she has such a raw and intense story about marriage expectations being shattered.  She also has a new book releasing this spring!  A simple and worthwhile read for any wife and anyone planning to become a wife some day!

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom – Classic must read.  Full of perspective and evidences of God’s grace and protection in the worst places in history.

Love the Least (A lot) by Michael Spielman – It’s like a documentary in book version.  Full of pro-life information, stats, and cultural references.

Meet Mrs. Smith: My Adventures with Six Kids, One Rockstar Husband, and a Heart to Fight Poverty by Anna Smith – Easy and fun read, I read this in the middle of nights on my Kindle while feeding newborn Olson

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser – I am a sucker for historical fiction! I loved reading about George Washington’s life, even though some was embellished, she went into great detail at the end identifying what was true, probably true, and embellished.  Highly recommend Nancy Moser’s books, especially this on!

Restoring the Joy in Your Journey: I Choose Joy! by  Candace R. Hansford, Ph.D. – I got this book after listening to this author speak at the Cincinnati homeschool convention last year.  Good book, GREAT topic.

Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa, & Jinger Duggar – absolutely LOVED this book.  Soaked the entire thing up and promptly filed away much of the wisdom they shared in how they were raised as precious daughters of the King. So thankful for this family and their transparency

A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar – again, absolutely LOVED this Duggar book.  Full of so much parenting advice.  Can’t wait to read it again!

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith a fun, easy, and inspiring decorating and DIY book

How to Control Your Emotions So They Don’t Control You: A Mom’s Guide to Overcoming  by Brooke McGlothlin – I should have written a synopsis as soon as I read this book because I don’t remember 😦

Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst – Learned so much about my emotions.  Reminded and challenged that I’m the one in charge of how I respond to them.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker – after reading 7 a couple times 2 years ago, Interrupted (written before 7) was kind of disappointing 😦  Not to mention that some of her authors that were inspiring to her are controversial in their theology…helped me to begin a study on false teachers and false prophets.

Bridge to Haven – Francine Rivers – We LOVE Francine Rivers around here.  But man was I disappointed with the sexually explicit and suggestive scenes in this novel.  It saddens me that she and the publisher felt it necessary to include to make this story ‘whole’.

Children: Burden or Blessing by Max Heine – 30 year old book about our cultures view towards family and children.  The history is still relevant today.  An amazing source of statistics and facts as well as insight into what scripture says about family and our role in that as God designed us.

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst – Great read.  Highly recommend!

And of course, since I had a baby again last  year, parts of Babywise!

This year, I’m going to add an additional category of things I read and name the blogs and websites I spend the most time reading

The Matt Walsh Blog (he also writes for the Blaze)

The Better Mom

For the Family

What books or blogs do you recommend for me in 2015?! 




Why the challenges?!


It ends on TUESDAY and the winners will be announced WEDNESDAY!


It’s March and we’ve begun our FOOD CHALLENGE

Since we posted our ‘unofficial list’ earlier we have changed out RICE for BANANAS

Anyways, that’s not the point of this blog

I want to talk about WHY we are challenging ourselves in different ways, what it is doing for us, and how we hope to be changed for the future


Since cookies, ice cream, cookies, rolos, cookie dough, and cookies are not on my list for my food challenge, I am pretty confident I will fail.

(Debbie downer, huh?!)

Actually, I know I will failif I am not putting my faith and trust in God to transform my self-control and discipline…I have no hopes of succeeding!

And I know that if I try to succeed with self-discipline alone, I will fail!  We are coming together, in community, to radically challenge each other with self-control and discipline.  We are holding each other up in daily prayer and contacting each other with regular accountability.  The clothing challenge was a tight-knit group of 5 gals.  This food challenge has grown from 5 gals to 9! (7 ladies and 2 of our husbands).  In April the challenge will be related to marriage and I hope that even more will join in on the vulnerability, sacrifice, discipline, fellowship, and growth!

Along with the Late Night Girls Bible Study where the idea for these challenges grew – I have been reading lots of literature that has been tugging on my heart and convicting my spirit to make radical, lasting changes in how I view my possessions, my wealth, and my capabilities

One of these books is Radical by David Platt

If 7 by Jen Hatmaker rocked my world (the book behind the idea for the challenges), Radical pretty much crumbled it

We listened to this a few times in 2011 and I recently bought the book so I can pour over it’s words and write my thoughts in the margin

This book stirred our hearts towards adoption

This book helped us think differently about our God’s possessions (that we are merely stewards of)

This book turned our hearts towards seeking out more of THE BOOK (The Bible, in case you weren’t quite sure if I was refering again to 7 by Jen Hatmaker again which I’ve mentioned in at least 5% of my blogs)

Big Picture:

This is about the health of my heart and my emotions and my mind
We have the luxury of buying whatever we want…even extremely expensive healthy whole foods that are great for us – but we don’t have to hardly blink about the cost because of our surplus of money!
I want to meditate on the world and what I choose to stay blind to…how they are not just hungry but DIE from hunger
Kids, exactly like mine, all over the world, that will die today because they are hungry…something that can be so easily rectified…
How I can eat less or a smaller variety of diet and avoid gluttony, and over-indulgence, and SELF-indulgence?
And begin to concentrate on self-control, and my body-image in Christ, and being world-focused?
I know as we open our hearts to be more radical – and diligently hide more of The Word away in our hearts, we will continue to be pulled towards God’s plan for our lives and how our sole purpose is to bring Him glory
God, help us rid ourselves of gluttony this month and meditate on eliminating waste of food and get back to nurturing our bodies with a conservative and respectful diligence that keeps us globally-focused on those that will die today from not having the luxury of consuming the scraps that we throw away from our table…
Help us die to ourselves so that YOU can take us over and accomplish your greatness through us!
If you want to be challenged and need some accountability and fellowship – join us in this month’s challenge!  Just a leave a comment and let me know 🙂
If you want some literary ‘food for thought’ pick up Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and be enlightened to transform our God-given desire to crave from food and other worldy distractions, to God and His Word that will benefit and feed us eternally.

prayer retreat

Earlier this month I was so blessed to go on a 24 hour prayer retreat
My mom, lovely husband, and great friend, Brittany, made sure Mylin was cared for while I was gone!
I was also privileged to get to spend the day with another good friend, at her in-laws house: a free place to stay!
This is the 4th (or 5th?) prayer retreat I’ve ever been on – and they have all been SO different!  Not just because God reveals different things to me each time, but because I have done them in all sorts of locations.  This is the first time I retreated with someone else and I think I will always do this again!  While we did spend time talking together about MomLife (a joint ministry of ours), our husbands, children, marriages, and just what God was doing in our lives in general, I still had ample time to read and pray on my ‘own’ in the house with her.  Having this partner calmed my anxiety about staying away from home (I am pretty hormonally anxious woman when pregnant…not to mention when I am not!!!) and also provided the opportunity to just talk about God and life without interuption.
This is how it all began on that Wednesday afternoon:
I ended up spending a lot of time writing down my thoughts on about 5 differently themed sheets of paper (Family, Self, MomLife, to do, Bible Study).  I would recommend this trick to anyone going on a retreat!  To always have a notebook beside me to pour my thoughts into helped me to get rid of the nagging chores I didn’t want to forget to do when I returned home…and to help me not forget the passages I read or the words God gave me over certain subjects or requests.
I had struggled with having an agenda during this retreat.  I went into it with 2 huge ‘things’ I wanted to figure out, plus like 37 smaller requests I wanted insight on 🙂  Within about 3 hours, through reading and also an insightful conversation with my retreat companion, I realized that why I go to God to seek answers, He desires that I just seek Him
Well…after that I felt like, I’ve gotten what I came for – I can go home!
I didn’t go home though 🙂 But spent time reflecting on this and preparing myself for what I feel like will be a season of waiting, patience, peace, discipline, obedience, and trust (shouldn’t all of life be like this?!).  I believe that why I wish I had certain things figured out in my life and for our future, God wants me to focus on learning about and growing in Him – He already knows how all those other issues will pan out – I am in a place to show Him that I trust Him to be in control…and therefore relinquish my control.
We’ll see how this goes……..
Have you ever taken a prayer retreat?
Where do you go?
How do you prepare?
How does God speak to you during these times?!

confirmation and fervent prayer

Confirmation for prayer requests seems elusive to me.
I know now that I firmly believe in it…but when I don’t know where to find it and I don’t know what form it will come in…I am left wondering at when to step out in faith and when to wait longer for an answer or permission.

Some time in the last several months I was driving home from Marion listening to the conversation hour on WBCL (90.3 in the Ft. Wayne area)
I was deep in worry prayer over Joel’s job situation because it was becoming increasingly stressful and I am not in favor of their move to Ft. Wayne within the next 2 years that will take him away from us 40ish minutes earlier each more, bring him home 40ish minutes later, and take away our lunch hour together every day
As I was committing this to the Lord and begging for a quick and easy solution (to me that would be some job change or ministry opportunity) I boldly asked that the Lord give me an answer to this prayer to clear that I would not question it!
Well nearly an entire 30 seconds later the program I was listening to reminded us that this author was speaking about their book on how to know God’s will (I do not remember the name of the book or the day it was aired – sorry!).  The author used a random scenario of hearing God’s voice/will in the area of our job.  Such as (the author’s example), biding our time doing our job because we know this isn’t the final place/true spot of ministry/dream job that we will have one day…so we are just doing this to get by until then.  The auther challenged us that this train of thought is NOT according to God’s will!  What would be in God’s will would be to perform our best, work as hard as we know how, and do our very best in the job that He has given us.  Opportunity will find the hard-worker.
Um, wow.
So thanks for showing up and showing off when I step out on a limb of faith to boldly ask for clear confirmation!
I went away from that knowing how I could encourage Joel in this situation – to remind him of the important work his job description has for him to do and also for the relationships he has built and is nurturing at Franklin.  He has a valuable spot with close friends at work to impact them for Jesus and to live for Him in a secular organization.

Cut to about 2-3 weeks ago when I was in the throws of my miserable cold(s).
I wasn’t able to go to sleep and went downstairs for some late night quiet time
I prayed boldly again asking the Lord to give me comfort and wisdom to endure this illness and discern if and what medicines I should take to ease my pain but also keep my unborn child’s health my #1 priority.  I had to be up in a few short hours to go to work and care for many other’s burdens…I always need to be on top of my game for my job both emotionally and physically. 
I opened a newer devotional called, Progress of Another Pilgrim, by Frances J. Roberts.

As I flipped through the table of contents I was looking specifically for something that spoke to healing.  I came to a short passage entitled ‘Thy Healing Touch’.  As I read through this I was encouraged that through my weaknesses God was shown to be what brought about any strength.  When we strive forth in our ministry and recognize where we are weak than it is obvious it is His accomplishment.
Again – Wow, God!
Thank you for reminding me that I am not in this alone and will not endure it alone.  You will fill in the gaps to continue your ministry through me!

My third (and final) confirmation story came just 2 days later.  I had just come from a MomLife leadership meeting where we had talked in length about next years leadership team.  We were not only planning how many spots were available, but what the responsibilities would be and whether any of us would return.  I knew that I wanted to return, but that it would be difficult with a newborn.  I knew that I needed to have Joel’s approval and support (though now I know that God’s ministry is bigger than my husband’s agreeance…but I still wanted to have it!).  As we mulled over the job descriptions and which one I’d be interested in I told our leader for next year that I would take 1 of 2 positions – whichever one was left after another member decided which one they wanted.  I knew that this wasn’t a very convicted response – but I didn’t feel led to take a particular spot – but just that I wanted to be a part of it!
After more debate and suggestions ideas began to float around about prioritizing spiritual growth and fellowship in the overall MomLife group.  Ideas kept coming to me and our leader was so excited that by the end of the meeting she decided she’d add another position for spiritual direction.  I left that meeting knowing that I was to pray specifically about that position – that is where God was leading me in many areas in my life!  I came home, picked up that same devotional and opened to a passage labeled “Fellowship”.  I won’t quote the entire devotion, but it literally said ‘MOVE’ in capitol letters, encouraging the reader to go in faith and God will give you (or as I was reading, ‘me’) a rich ministry.
You may think that was enough to convince – but the scripture referenced at the end of this paragraph did it.  Colossians 3:12-17.  (Look it up to enjoy the richness of God’s Word) Our verse.  The Draper passage.  Read at our wedding.  Yep, I am totally going to be on the leadership team and use God’s strength in all of my weaknesses to provide fellowship opportunities and Bible studies to these women as we all grow in Him and His plan for us!

God – you never cease to amaze me. THANK YOU for answering prayers in a way that I can understand, believe, and move forward with. I love you!!!!!!!!

Please share a story of your own on God’ confirmation to prayer or how you ‘hear’ Him best!!! Sharing these stories with one another can be so uplifting!

What I am LOVIN these days

Coffee creamer

Maternity clothes – especially these cargo pants from Motherhood Maternity

And here’s me modeling them at 18 weeks!

Leisure reading

Candles particularly ones from A Different Light in Bluffton

Pinterest recipes

My goal is to try at least one from here each week!  This week is Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Banana breakfast pizza and Baked Chicken Parmesan

Ellen in the afternoons – my comic relief on my stay-at home days!
Tuesday night t.v.

My unbelievably amazing family that are blessings greater than I can imagine or describe
What are some of your favorite things right now?!

books of 2011!

In 2011 I was so excited to finish my Master’s degree and finally start leisure reading again!
This is what I managed to accomplish:

Her Daughter’s Dream – Francine Rivers
Journey to the Well – Diana Wallis Taylor
The Other Side of Darkness – Melody Carlson
Radical – David Platt (audio c.d.)
The Atonement Child – Francine Rivers
Baby Wise – Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D.
Wind Dancer – Jamie Carie
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Give Them Grace – Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Sun Stand Still – Steven Furtick
Seriously…I’m Kidding – Ellen Degeneres
Gideon’s Grace – Karen Kingsbury
Maggie’s Miracle – Karen Kingsbury
Sarah’s Song – Karen Kingsbury
Hannah’s Hope – Karen Kingsbury

Out of these books I would HIGHLY recomment reading Her Daughter’s Dream, by Francine Rivers, but not before you read Marta’s Legacy, the prequel, also by Francine Rivers

If you want to laugh out loud all afternoon pick up Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres (or her 2 other books, My Point…and I Do Have One, or The Funny Thing Is…)

Also, Radical and Give Them Grace are MUST HAVE’S for Jesus lover’s – for just living life as we are called to, and also parently our children the way Jesus’ directs us (see also, Baby Wise)
Coincidently, I wouldn’t recommend Sun Stand Still – it honestly doesn’t even compare to Radical in my opinion

I’m making it a goal for 2012 to read every day!
I have a few books on my list to start with:
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
Divine by Karen Kingsbury
Every Woman’s Marriage by Shannon Ethridge
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Plus a few Francis Chan books I bought during an Amazon impulse buy day…one where I couldn’t help myself by adding them all to my cart and knew that Joel and I would enjoy reading them some day 🙂
What books would you highly recommend I add to my list?!?!

too many books…

So right now I’m reading too many books

Boundaries for MomLife

Give Them Grace (a parenting book) for myself

The Help for a book club I just joined

Permission to Speak Freely (a Christian version of PostSecret)

Sun Stand Still for a church wide small group study

What books are you reading right now?!
Do you ever read more than one at once?! How do you manage that?!