Sunday, June 21, 2015

Latest Reads

I have been meaning to post this blog entry since mid-last month so as to help all of those who have asked me about summer reads but I am just now getting around to writing the mini-reviews on them. {see previous post for why I started posting these reviews!} 

Here you go, in case anyone is still looking for some summer reading!


Sara Hagerty pens an honest account of her deepest longings that seemingly are going unfulfilled. She shares stories from her life, specifically about their infertility and road toward adoption, where time and time again she has had to choose to see the goodness of God in the midst of pain and suffering.  Hagerty is a remarkable story teller. Her writing is poetic and beautiful.






The Pastor's Kid by Barnabas Piper
Barnabas Piper talks candidly about what it is like to grow up as a Pastor's Kid.  He tells stories of his struggle to find his own faith and identity as people in the congregation seemed to place upon him expectations that were unrealistic. Because of his father's teaching has a large reach these expectations followed him into college as well as his adult life.  Piper gives fantastic insight and advice for pastors and their wives on how to help shape & protect their kids. I think this book would be beneficial for youth leaders, close friends of pastor's families, as well as many congregants.

Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle 

This book had me laughing and crying and then calling all my best friends and telling them all the stories!  Melanie Shankle memoirs her life by letting you meet her best friends in all the different seasons of her life. As she tells the stories of how various friendships shaped her life, I found myself reflecting on my own life and the kind of friend I hope to be. This was a wonderful book, a page-turner. (and if you are into audio books, she actually reads her own book so you get to hear alot of her personality through it!)
Scary Close by Donald Miller
In Scary Close, Donald Miller recounts his realization of destructive relational patterns in his life and how he went about working through them. His openness about such personal things draws you in and in a sense offers healing to you, the reader, as well.  He tells the story of how he got help, what therapists, mentors and friends helped him through along the way. Through his telling, I found myself reflective on my own patterns, milling through the advice he received, and finding clarity on some aspects of my own life.  Miller is a renown story teller and this book is no different.  He tells a story so well that some how you can find yourself right in it.

From Tablet To Table by Leonard Sweet
This is a book about a subject that I love: the sacredness of the table. I could go on and on listing quotes and ideas he gives, but you should just pick it up and give it a read instead.  While this is not my favorite book on this topic, Sweet covers A LOT in a small, easy to read book.  I said a few times while I read this book, "He could write an entire book off of each chapter." So needless to say he just skims the surface of why the table is sacred.  This will wet your appetite to read other books on the subject for sure!

Everything Else by Brett Laxton
Laxton had me laughing so hard I snorted, on a plane, next to strangers...yep, that funny. I tried to keep reading this book the rest of the flight but I had all the poor people around me worried about my emotional health because next thing they knew I was bawling.  Everything Else is full of true, honest, heart warming & hilarious stories from Brett's life. A fantastic story teller, Laxton circles each chapter around in such a way that you can relate to your own life.  He shares about his families ups and their downs.  Laxton self published this book as it is his debut in writing.  I HIGHLY recommend you grab a copy and support this longtime friend. You won't regret it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not Sure How To Start This Thing Over So I'll Start With Books!!

I realize that I've not blogged in years.

I also realize that unintentionally my blog became a homeschool blog.

While I hope that the Letter's Of The Week posts are helpful and continue to encourage young homeschoolers, I do hope to move this blog forward. I have high hopes to update my profile and the photos and add tabs to separate categories with ease, but for now, if I don't just start, I never will. 

I get asked on the regular for book suggestions and I love that question! I have been posting the books I read onto Instagram for a the last few years and always have emails and text following the posts asking for more details on this book or that. As I prepped to post my latest reads onto Insto, I decided to write a mini-review for each book to help as people decided which books to read next. The more I wrote I realized that, in my social media opinion, this broke all the Insta-rules. SO MANY WORDS. SO MANY WORDS. INSTO IS FOR PICTURES. Just kidding...kinda. 

This led to me remembering that I do, in fact, have a blog AND that blogs are the social medium in which it is appropriate to write "long-mini-reviews." *wink*

So with out further ado... 

What I've Been Reading and My Thoughts For Those Who Care::

Tables In The Wilderness- by Preston Yancey - I read this book at the end of last year and I can not believe I never posted about it. Yancey's writing is honest and beautiful. I was raised with Liturgy, the Church Calendar & Creeds as the basis of my faith and in college landed in a church that had none of these practices so I found Yancey's story intriguing as it is the EXACT opposite of mine. This memoir is full of thought provoking insights and I highly recommend it!!

The Best Yes- by Lysa Terkeurst - This was my 1st read of 2015 and I am so glad it was. Lysa gives practical advice on how to approach decisions where both options seem great.  She shares stories about how to decide if you have enough time to say yes to obligations and gives some fantastic tools for the reader to take away. She coaches you and reminds you that "no" is not a bad word but in fact is a very healthy one. This is an easy, practical read.

The Pearl- by John Steinbeck - I feel like anytime you write a review for Steinbeck all you need to say is, "Steinbeck." As with most all Steinbeck works, this is a thoughtful parable that you can find yourself in most all the characters. This is a short book, clocking in under 100 pages, but is full of mystery, love & terror with little resolve. I mean, it definitely resolves, but not in your heart...for a long time at least.

Yes Please!- by Amy Poehler - This book is by Amy Poehler so it goes with out saying that well over 40% of the book is COMPLETELY inappropriate in every way (so much so that I am sorta embarrassed to be posting about it). BUT the other 60% is HILARIOUS and doubly insightful. I laughed so much. I love learning from and listening to friends with a totally different worldview than my own and that is how I felt as I read "Yes Please!". While I'd be very sheepish to recommended this book because of it's content, I did really enjoyed her balance of candor and privacy. If you choose to read this book and it is at all possible (and children are not in ear shot!! ) I recommend the audio of this book on Audible.com. Amy is actually the reader along with Seth Myers and they add A LOT to it as they banter back and forth. They are hilarious. 

Jesus Feminist- by Sarah Bessey - I didn't know what I would think about this book before I read it, so I tried to go in with an open mind. I was afraid, as the book had been accused of, that it would be another hate book toward patriarchal leadership. What I found was quite the opposite. Bessey, kindly shares her story of being raised in an egalitarian, Jesus loving home in Canada, her move to southern United States and the cultural differences that ensued. She makes a strong and equally humble case for the Bible's teaching on women, both in the home and in the church setting.  I never once sensed a harshness or manipulating tone, just her story and Biblical evidence on which she had landed. I was thrilled as I entered the back portion of her book. She lays out the upside down nature of Jesus's teaching on the Kingdom and her final chapters are filled with encouragement to all readers, egalitarian and complementarian alike.  


Girl At The End Of The World - by Elizabeth Esther -  Y'all. I am obsessed. I mean, not really but I am having a hard time not thinking about this book.  I found myself googling facts and being more disturbed by the seemingly true nature of it.  I read this book in 2 days. I was pretty much useless to my family due to lack of sleep but I just couldn't put it down. This is a memoir about a girl who was raised in a fundamentalist cult and her life's pursuit to get out of it. The author, who is telling her own story, lets you in on the mindset of a child who endures abuse in the name of God, love and sacrifice. I'm really going to need some of my friends to read this in the next day or two so we can talk about...okay? okay. Thanks!


Hope these reviews are helpful!!

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Z is for Zacchaeus, Zoo and Zebra

YAY!  We finished our first year of schooling two boys!  Embarking on this task made me so nervous, as schooling one was tough....the thought of adding a pre-schooler to the mix was a little scary.  But we made it!  Thanks for tagging a long as we went.  I hope you had as much fun schooling as we did!

Z was, like X, stretched out over several weeks because it is so nice out side. I let the boys play and enjoy the weather.

For our memory verse we did Luke 19:5, "Zacchaeus hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." This is a well know Bible story but proved timely like many of our other verses this year!  The concept of this story is easy for our 3 year old to grasp and remember while it was a strong reminder and challenge for our 7 year old.  Our "God is Faithful. You can be" board said, "God is Faithful. You can be forgiven."  We talked about who Zacchaeus was, what others thought of him and how others treated him.  Then we compared that to how Jesus thought of him, and treated him.  We talked about in the same way, we are sinners and Jesus has every right to treat us poorly, but He treats us with forgiveness.


Z is for Zoo, of course.  So we went to the Zoo.


And while at the Zoo, we found a ZEBRA!


For our letter project we also made a Zebra.



We did a few other fun things that incorporated Z.



We worked on our writing and tracing and did LOTS of "math" (i.e pattern blocks)



I am sure we did more but that's all I have photographed :)

For those who are done with school :: Great Job!! You finsished!  For those who haven't :: KEEP IT UP! You are sooooo close!

I am going to be doing some "summer" school with both boy and hope to post some of that but otherwise, I am going to try to resume with normal, non-school blogging....but we will see, this has been fun!

Happy Schooling or Happy Summer!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Y is for Yellow, Yarn, Yelling, Yard & YUCK!

Well, as you may have guessed from the lag in my blog, we like to slow WAY down in the spring so that the boys can spend plenty of time outside. We only have 18 lessons left with Titus' Math & History curriculum and all of his other subjects we will easily finish up in the next two weeks. SO for Justus' Pre-School, I just try to have him busy sitting with us at the table while Titus is working on a few subjects then I let him enjoy the outside before its so blazing hot that he can't! So for the letter Y we spread it out over a couple of weeks. (hence the lack of blogging)

For our Y memory verse we worked on Psalm 139:1-2, "O Lord You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. You understand my thoughts from far away." This is such a great verse, one I hope they hold in their hearts for as long as they live! I asked the boys how they felt about knowing God sees them, knows them and knows what they are going to do even before it is done. It was fun hearing their answers (well, Titus' answer I guess because Justus rarely has much to say).

For our "God is Faithful" board we did, "God is Faithful, You can be known." I obviously took this straight from the verse. We talked about how friends will come and go and they are a good thing, a gift from God, but only God will truly always know you. We talked about how God knows us even better than we know ourselves. This was a great conversation!

For our Pre-School Y week(s) we focused on the color Yellow and tried to incorperate it in as many ways as I could.

For math we used yellow foam sticks for counting. Then I made a simple number game out of them where I would say the number and he would have to pick out that stick then place them in number order in front of him. (this took maybe 1 minute to come up with and make...colored foam sticks are so useful and cheap to keep around!)

For writing we wrote with a Yellow marker in our Letter work books ::
and practiced writing our name on yellow paper::

For motor skills we stamped Ys on Yellow paper::
and glued Ys to yellow paper for our word list::

and we arranged yellow foam sticks into a Y and glued it on a paper::


And for FUN we got a Yellow ticket to ride a Yellow train::


For our Y letter project we glued Yarn on to a letter Y::

One morning after we had done a good deal of school and were about to leave for the gym, we did a Yelling contest! We thought of words we could yell that started with a Y. We ended up yelling, Yes! and Yay! Here is a funny picture of them yelling!

As I mentioned earlier, we stretched this unit out over a couple weeks so we could play out side and enjoy the amazing weather. This was conveniently Y week and we got to add Yard to our list of words that start with the letter Y. Here are some of the many, many things they did in the yard::
Lots of dirt, mud, soccer, water, bubbles, hunting and chasing animals and insects happened of the last few weeks!

Lastly, we went to a long awaited science exhibit at our local Science Museum called Grossology. It was full of all things gross. We went as our Y "field trip" for the word "YUCK!" and they actually did say, "YUCK!" alot! ha!

Other than that we did some painting and writing practice and I am sure a host of other things I did not get photographed and have escaped my memory! :)

Here is a final shot as I close out this Y unit blog.
This is what our kitchen table generally looks like on a school day. :)
Fun and crazy. (and notice the coffee) Hope you are enjoying schooling! I would love to hear what yall are up too this spring as you finish up the year with your kiddos!
Happy Schooling!