Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book List

I love to read.  When we were younger, my little sister used to grump around telling me, "You have the reading HABIT!"  She ended up getting it, too.  But once I started having kids about 8 years ago, I was doing good to get in a book or two a year, besides some Bible reading!  And of course, a whole bunch of children's books, which I truly love.  This past January, though, a friend inspired me with her list of books she wanted to read this year, and the encouragement that if I made one, too, I would probably find  time to squeeze in some good reading.  I consulted a few friends who are avid readers, thought about some books I had been curious about, and had great fun putting my list together!  And even though I would have told you I had no time to read....some crazy way I've read quite a bit.  Maybe if you don't have a book list, you'll be inspired to make one!

Here's my list, with a teeny tiny bit of commentary on the ones I've finished or am currently reading:

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung - a quick, practical read full of solid content and some wit, too.

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick - this one on parenting was slow going because of how much it gave me to think about, and I loved it.  One of my big take-aways was that law never motivates anyone to true and lasting obedience; only GRACE does that!  I recommend this so highly!

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Ed Welch - I'm in the middle of this one.  While I think the book's organization is a little awkward, much of the content has been quite helpful, encouraging me to think more Biblically about God's character and about why I am fearful.  Here is a snippet: "Worry, therefore, is not simply an emotion that erodes our quality of life or a pain to be alleviated.  It is a misdirected love that should be confessed.  It is trying to manage our world apart from God.  It is making life about our needs, desires, and wants."

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent - I just finished this and I am ready to read it again!!  The book is divided into three sections.  In the first, Vincent lists over 30 reasons to rehearse the Gospel to one's self daily.  The second section is the Gospel in prose, and the third is the Gospel in poetry - beautiful!  Scripture verses are footnoted and fully written out at the bottom of each page.

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Esolen - The most "intellectual" book I've read so far this year.  A piece of cultural criticism, the point of it is obviously that you DON'T want to destroy your child's imagination!  I was inspired to give my children the freedom in childhood to take "reasonable" risks; inspired to continue to make sure they have time to read worthwhile books, time to explore, time to play in creeks, time to watch how ants work!  Esolen wrote about how important it is for kids to understand God-given gender distinctions and he made the point that little boys and little girls don't dream about becoming an adult - adults are boring, "adults pay bills" - but about becoming a man or a woman.  Another chapter I enjoyed was about kids having true heroes.  Slow going for me, I assume because my IQ level does not match that of the author!

Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo - I'm currently reading this one, and just the first chapter really opened my eyes to see just a bit better into the hearts of my kids, and one in particular!  The author lists twenty something ways parents provoke their children to anger, and there were a couple I would not have thought of on my own.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis - this is short, a helpful look into one man's loss and grief; very open and a little "raw."

Dove by Robin Lee Graham - the true story of a 16 year old boy who circumnavigated the globe, alone in his little yacht!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - memoir-ish, with recipes and interesting sidebars.  The author (who is a fantastic writer!) and her family pack up and move to a farm, committing for one year to eat only what they grow/raise, or what is grown/raised locally.  Although I don't agree with all of Kingsolver's views, I loved the book.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - This was a hard one to put down!  Historical fiction with a brilliant ending.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows - Written as a series of letters and full of endearing characters, so sweet!   I learned some new things, too, about the German-occupied Channel Islands during WW II.  I'll read this one again.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - A classic with detailed character development; the story of a young girl growing up at the turn of the century.  Touching, and I think it captures the feel of a time and a place, while it studies humanity in general.

The Book of the Dunn Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr. - of the fantasy genre, this reminded me of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis on a smaller scale.  I liked it, talking animals and all!

Divergent by Veronica Roth - my piece of pop culture!  About a dystopian society, this was hard to put down until it was finished!  

The Memoirs and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Doyle - who doesn't love Sherlock Holmes?!  These stories are all short and can stand alone, so I could read one easily before bed.

Emma by Jane Austen - I love the way Jane Austen writes, and this is one I had never read.  I just recently started and feel like I know Emma already.

 The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Burroughs

Instructing a Child's Heart by Tripp

When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper 

Adopted for Life by Moore

Great Expectations by Dickens

A Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts (my friend wrote this one!)

Real Food on a Real Budget by Langford

They Poured Fire on Us from Heaven by Ajak

Bach: Music in the Castles of Heaven by Gardiner

So there it is!  These books have given me a lot to think and converse about, and it's been exciting to renew my love for reading.   Maybe you'll add one of these to your own list!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Three years

Today marked three years since Lucy was born, three years since Lucy went to be with Jesus.  Her birthday is a hard but precious day!  A day of remembering  not only her short life and death, not only our great loss, but also God's merciful care of our family in heartbreaking times.  Today we took flowers and balloons to her grave, bought some new flowers to plant, made cupcakes, and looked through our photos and Lucy's things.  We were blessed by family and friends who called, sent sweet messages, and brought flowers.  Tears came often as I called to mind painful memories, but they came too as I recalled the love Christ showed us, specifically through our families and His church.  I looked around at our house and thought of the friends who painted our walls and cleaned our showers and filled our pantry; the friends who moved us in here, brought us meals for six weeks, worked on our yard, sent flowers and plants, wrote so many words of encouragement, gave gifts, gave their ears, gave their tears, gave their love.  We were BLESSED.

And Christ himself, the Man of Sorrows, comforted us.  

Spurgeon said it well,
"God will grind sunlight out of your black nights.  In the oven of affliction, grace will prepare the bread of delight.  Someday you will thank God for all your sadness."  I ponder that last part.  Will we really thank God for all our sadness?

I miss Lucy.  I hate that she's not here with us.  I still feel heartsick when I think of what it felt like to find out she had died, when I think of our little children holding their tiny sister when no life was left in her.  But I have HOPE.  I included the last picture in this post because I look at it and wonder how I smiled...and then I see the hope in my own eyes.  I praise the Lord for the certain hope of the resurrection.  I will behold His glory, and I will see that little girl again!  And I praise Him for His unending goodness...His mercies are new every morning! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Will's 6th Birthday

Look at this adorable boy!  My sweet Will, he was about 17 months in this photo.  Where has the time gone?!

We celebrated Will's 6th birthday (October 12) with lots of family and one of his little friends.  He wanted a "Star Wars Hoth" party, so I decorated his cake with white frosting, a marshmallow snow cave, and of one of Will's own lego creations: an AT-AT!  Wish I'd taken a photo.  We hung white streamers and Eleanor drew an AT-AT to tape on the front door.  He loved it!  Will also had a little celebration in his kindergarten class he attends twice a week.  I had fun taking a treat and watching him interact with his peers.  He read "The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree" to his whole class!

Will is a special boy.  There's a lot to him.  He can be both goofy and pensive; sweet and mischeivous.  Sometimes he says something that makes me realize there is much going on in his mind that I wouldn't have guessed.  He has the markings of a leader - although sometimes I worry about brutal dictatorship, ha!  On the playground he can round up all the kids and orchestrate a grand game, it is so fun to watch!

Will loves to play imaginative games with siblings and friends - orphans, Narnia, ninjago, mining, ninja turtles, name a few!  He loves Legos and trash trucks and snakes.  He is good with numbers, good with words, good with maps.  He loves books, helping me bake, and making up wild stories.  He is still "built on springs" as his grandma says - he literally does bounce around much of the day! 

I am so thankful for the gift of my firstborn son!!  He brings such joy to us all.  Parenting him continues to teach me!  I pray God's richest blessing on him, that Will would live a life that reflects the hope and glory of the Gospel of Christ.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A farewell

My parents have sold their house.  A good thing, an answer to prayer, but still a loss!  So we went up this past weekend for a brief last stay in the "old" house.  The kids asked, "Can't Papa take the rocks with him?"  The huge boulders and beautiful rocks that my Dad has collected have become favorite playthings when we visit.

God has blessed us all with many good memories in this place!  It was kind of a nostalgic trip, and I enjoyed thinking back to so many things, not only connected with this house, but with my childhood in Lake City, as well.  Camp cookouts at our family resort, a hoard of summer evenings outside with siblings and cousins and friends, hiking in the high country with my Dad, boating on and ice skating on and being baptized in the lake, funny stories of our many pets...and so on.  But what sticks out in my mind as I think about the two homes my parents have owned there is their amazing example of hospitality, generosity, and service.  Their home has ALWAYS been open and welcome: truly to friend and stranger, wealthy and homeless.  They don't brush anyone off, and their home has been a place of refreshment for countless people.  Their example is a tremendous gift to me! 

Here we are exploring the beautiful new place, a (very!) little rental just outside Lake City.  I have a feeling my parents will continue to honor Christ in the use of their home, knowing that hospitality doesn't have much to do with square footage!
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Max turns ONE!

Look at my little munchkin!  This year went by so fast, blesssed day after blessed day.  Max is full of energy and curiosity and affection.  He crawls like a speed demon, cruises with ease, climbs the stairs, and once in a while stands alone.  He is rarely still!  He is fascinated by the dishwasher, the sweeper, the dog's bowls, lights and fans, and many other non-toys.  He has four teeth and the best smile!  He likes to be tickled and chased.  He loves all his siblings (Will can really get him laughing) and the dog, and has begun to enjoy books for more than just chewing on!  He enjoys plenty of table food and eats like a man some meals.  When he wants a drink he says "Ahh", like you or I would after taking a big gulp, so cute.   He says "DaDa" all the time and uses my name, "MaMa", mostly to mean food!  He also says "Doggie" which I think means animal of any kind.  He understands so much and is incredibly aware.  He waves at things he want or wants to know the name of.  He's still Mama's boy and I am loving it.  We are all so, so thankful for God's gracious gift of Max Henry in our lives!

 Max had his first party with cousin Audrey, who is just 9 days older than him.  It was a wonderful celebration in my brother's family's beautiful backyard, a big gathering with family and old friends.  My sister was even here from Canada!

 Celebration #2 was this past weekend with Todd's parents.  A sweet time!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, SuperJack!


I can't believe this guy is 4!
Jack has an easygoing personality, a generous heart, an active imagination, and a fantastic sense of humor.  He brings us joy truly every day.
From his larger-than-life stories of Big Fat Monsters and Hopper the Amazing Bunny, to his quirky Lego creations, to memorable phrases such as "I'll take Blankie with me as a safety precaution"...he keeps us laughing!
And he is sweet.  Sweet!  Recently he squatted down next to Max and said, "Max, here are three things I like about you: God made you, God created you, and God loves you!"

Jack loves to play outdoors, read, build Legos with Will, color with Eleanor, and wrestle with his Daddy.  He loves to play all sorts of pretend games and tell me exactly what my roles are, with lots of "pause the game!" inserted when I'm getting things wrong.  :D  He loves baby Max and always wants to give him some of whatever he's eating. 
Jack likes superheroes, diggers, batteries, screwdrivers, the pool; and takes a particular interest in the clothes he wears.  He wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.

God has blessed me - and all of us - with sweet, funny Jack.  I'm so glad he's ours!

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