Category Archives: reading

Recent reads #2

Check back HERE for what this 2nd edition Recent Reads post is all about

Prepare to be disgusted, Planned Parenthood’s agenda spelled out very clearly.  Their abortion to adoption rate is 201 to 1.  That stat made me gasp and cringe.

Can we remain faithful to Truth and the gospel with the changing culture and emergent Millenial generation?

Our words are powerful, and not always in a positive way

This sermon gripped me and then confused me.  What do you think about how to be loving and how to be bold?

Be careful when checking books out at the library to review their content before letting Junior choose which picture books he takes home.  He could bring home this story.

And then there’s this.  Which isn’t something I read, but it is still making me laugh!

What have you been reading lately?  Please post links in the comments for all of us to learn a little bit more about the subjects you think are fascinating.


What we’ve been reading lately

We do lots of reading in our house and it is HARD to fit it in with 3 little minions in various levels of destruction over their bodies, our bodies, and our possessions 🙂

BUT, we wanted to document some of the great articles we come across that are inspiring, enlightening, convicting, depressing, worthwhile and IMPORTANT for our generation!  Some are funny and light-hearted too, but the older we get, the more we realize we don’t have that much space for just funny and light-hearted.  There are a lot of battles out there that we are involved in and we aren’t going to sit passively by.

Anyways, we could continue to sit passively by if we didn’t know what was going on!  But we do! We have the power of finding news videos and articles about nearly anything we want to! Even though media isn’t 100% trustworthy, it’s a place to start, right?!

So, below will be links to topics and articles that I have read lately and thought interesting enough to share.  Some of these can also be found on our Facebook page, if you follow us on there.

Lecrae breaks the silence and publicly confesses a past abortion

19 week old baby survives the womb for moments

My first sermon listened to by John Piper – he is DYNAMIC!

Indiana may be voting to pass a bill to allow baby boxes – a safe haven for abandoned children – much like the box used in the new documentary The Drop Box:

The One Another’s of scripture.  A tool I used when I worked in a women’s crisis shelter and a common tool I used when in school for counseling and as a counselor.  A necessary tool for us as believers in Jesus Christ and His word!

Parenting is a spiritual battle.  Be armed, on guard, ready, and willing to fight.

Speaking of spiritual battles, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress from recently

So I guess none of that was funny or light-hearted, but I promise, some times it is 🙂

What have you been reading lately? We’re always looking for suggestions!

Bookshelf 2013

Well…this year did NOT compare to the roll I was on last year with my reading! BUT, I did read about half of the books I wanted to this year…maybe I’ll get to those other ones in 2014…

Below is a list of what I read (to the best of my recollection) and highlighted/bolded are the ones I ABSOLUTELY recommend and why…

The Shack – William P. Young

She’s Gonna Blow – Julie Ann Barnhill

Sold – Patricia McCormick: get some perspective on what is happening in our world.  And no, I don’t mean our world here in America, or the Midwest, or even as ‘middle class’…I mean how sin is ravaging and raping this world in so many ways that we cannot sit idley by if we call ourselves followers of Christ.

Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges: need a wake up call to how deep your pride is rooted and how far it infiltrates your life?!  Be prepared to be disgusted at yourself and repent.

Simple Living – Lorilee Lippincott

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself – Harriet Ann Jacobs

Radical – David Platt (again)

And the Shofar Blew – Francine Rivers

31 Days to Great Sex – Sheila Wren Gregoire: This book changed our marriage this year during our Marriage Challenge month.  We have adopted several disciplines that continue to keep our sexual intimacy focused on God’s design and plan for husbands and wives in marriage.  You MUST read this book this year and commit to putting your marriage relationship #1 on your list of earthly priorities

Christian Atheist – Craig Groeshel: Loved it. Love him. Read it 🙂

Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working – Craig Groeshel

Out of the Spin Cycle – Jen Hatmaker

Follow Me – David Platt: Convicting, thought-provoking, important to be challenged by these thoughts and sort through how God so plainly calls all of us so simply in scripture.  Don’t hide behind excuses.  Just do what He says.

Sparkly Green Earrings – Melanie Shenkle

What’s It Like to Be Married to Me – Linda Dillow: Another book that has challenged me as a wife and I would highly recommend to any woman looking for some accountability and challenge for her role in marriage.  It’s not about our husbands, it’s about Christ.  We must do what He has required of us in our marriage covenant no matter who or what we are married to.

The Steadfast Surrender – Nancy Moser

The book of John in The New Testament

Praying God’s Word Day by Day – Beth Moore: Helped me to become disciplined in my daily scripture reading

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide – Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Keppler

All I Have to Give: A Christmas Love Story – Melody Carlson

I’m so looking forward to reading some Beth Moore books I got for free on my Kindle and continuing the Little House on the Prarie series with Mylin – plus who knows what else!

What books have you read recently?  What would you recommend?!

My 2012 Bookshelf

I stole this idea from Kim, who does lots of book reviews on her blog (though she is blessed to make it through many more than me!)

But thought it would be fun to keep track of all the books I’ve read this year (check out last year’s bookshelf post)

Here goes:

The Scent of Rain and Lightening Nancy Pickard: interesting and suspenseful, but wouldn’t recommend based on a couple sexually explicit scenes – that the person who recommended it to me did not forewarn me about!

The Room – Emma Donague: definitealy a page-turner, I would recommend for it’s fictional account of a very realistic way sin infiltrates our world

Heaven is for Real – Todd Burpo: enjoyed this story, was an easy read! Not my favorite, but I’m sure (and I know) many would enjoy it too

Every Woman’s Marriage: Shannon Ethridge – so good! Definitely recommend for any woman desiring to enhance her marriage God’s way

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins – MUST READ. Yep, we joined the bandwagon.

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins: see above

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins: see above 🙂

The New Eve – Robert Lewis: Ok.  This man developed the Men’s Fraternity series that has helped change my husband, our marriage, and our lives into looking more like how God desired them to. I LOVE what God is doing through Men’s Fraternity!  This book has great insight into what God desires for the woman’s role – however, it is written from a man’s perspective.  A very intelligent and well-meaning man…but I fear that could turn women off from reading it.  I’m on the fence about recommending it.

Enemies of the Heart – Andy Stanley: This book has and continues to change me life. I am an angry person. I didn’t realize this until this book slapped me in the face with it.  I parent angry, I am an angry wife, I am a mean daughter, and can be a spiteful friend.  I am a sinner saved by God’s grace and the remedy for anger: forgivenessYou MUST read this. And totally follow his podcasts!

Divine – Karen Kingsbury: Another great fictional story of how sin can wreck our lives.  This has the redemptive power of Christ in it! I would recommend for any of you who have time for fiction!

Forgotten God – Francis Chan: I enjoyed his challenges, though I still cannot fully digest this book, nor fully understand the Holy Spirit (which is what this book is about).  Enjoyed it, but I think you gotta read it in a group.

Kisses from Katie – Katie Davis: I want to be used by God like Katie is.  She is inspiring. Read this.

Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen: Totally interesting! Beware again of a few explicit sexual scenes (seriously, I don’t ever read books with sex scenes so I don’t know how I stumbled across two this year).

Made to Crave – Lysa TerKeurst: I love how Lysa pinpointed our God given desire to crave, but how our sinful selves screw it up and crave the wrong things instead of God. Highly recommend for anyone struggling with self-discipline!

Babywise – Gary Ezzo: Agree with most of this and HIGHLY recommend any parent, especially of young kids, to at least try out his theory, if not totally adopt it.  I am serious when I say that everyone I know who tries this theory just as he outlines, sticks with it.  I’ve never heard a horrer story yet of how this didn’t work for a family…but I’ve heard dozens of success stories how this books changed lives!

Toddlerwise – Gary Ezzo: I really enjoyed this ‘sequel’ to Babywise.  I agree with a lot of it, though the discipline we choose in our household is not represented in this book….and we feel that it is the biblical way to discipline.  However, we have used some other behavior and sleep tricks from this book!

The Gluten-Free Good Health Diet Cookbook: I downloaded this free on my Kindle one day.  It is interesting! But I’m not jumping totally on this bandwagon.  God designed a lot of foods to be naturally occuring and creating a well-balanced diet – I’ll choose to eat from all the food groups 🙂 It did teach me some really interesting things about having a compost pile which is something I’d love to do!

Not a Fan – Kyle Idleman: Yep, just hit me in the face with the reality of my Christian apathy.  Haven’t read this yet?! You should!

7 – Jen Hatmaker: Ok, if I could only recommend 2 books on this entire list to you, this would be one of them!  This mindset has changed my life and it could change our culture for the better if we all adopted even an ounce of what she does.  Tired of being in the machine of our American instant-gratification, self-serving, more more more culture?  Read this, be inspired, and starting changing the world in ways you can control

The Well-Trained Heart – Ray & Donna Reish: This would be the other book I would highly recommend for you to read off this list.  This is changing the way we parent and preparing us for homeschooling.  This book is dynamic and so is the couple!  Here is their blog (or find them on facebook).  You can also come to the parenting seminar we are holding at Life Church in March with the Reish’s! Let me know if you want more info on that.

1,000 gifts – Ann VosKamp: Another popular book of late in the Christian community.  I am finishing this book currently and have been inspired by it.  It is a bit controversial (here is a post by someone I admire and respect that does not completely agree with the viewpoint of this 1,000 gifts ‘culture’ – read it here) but I am enjoying it 🙂

Enemies of the Heart (again): I read it again because I did it with my Late Night Girls Bible Study gals

Give Them Grace (again) – I read this last year and then Joel and I began reading it (slowly) together this year.  Who knows if we’ll continue with it together or switch to something else.  But I really recommend the point of this book: to take every instance and use every opportunity to preach the gospel to our children!

The Christmas Blessing – Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Hope – Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Promise – Donna VanLiere: these last 3 have been fun Christmas themed easy reads.  I did some Christmas reads last year in December and loved them! I decided to take a break from my deeper thought-provoking books and enjoy some light-hearted stories 🙂  These are cute and mostly well-written 😉

For 2013 I have a few books in mind to enjoy…

7 (again) for Late Night Girls Bible Study!)

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Smalley

The Shack by William P. Young

She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill

And most importantly THE BIBLE!

I need more of it in my life and so easily squeeze it out and replace it with…stuff.

What was your favorite book this year?

What is on your must-read list for 2013!?

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?!

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?!?!

Christmas break goals review

Remember my Christmas break goals?
This is how they’ve gone:
1. Four appointments later – I have recovered from my root canal 🙂
2. We have rearranged 3 bedrooms, 1 living room, 2 closets and 1 entrance room – they are not complete, but much much better…the office is piles of stuff that we don’t know what to do with/where to store. Overall I am so grateful for going through and ‘purging’ so many things we don’t need or can give to someone/somewhere else (p.s. I am in love with organizing, so this wasn’t really a chore to me but something fun!)
3. I didn’t even touch our address book (this was totally my goal for LAST Christmas break too…whoops!)
4. I went above and beyond my reading goal!
5. We abandoned the day sleeping goal and focused on her night goal – post coming soon

I am so grateful for my 3 weeks of ‘vacation’ from school and internship responsibilities
I got some things done that I wanted to and also had lots of sleeping in and relaxing
I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my last semester!