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December Reads

13 Jan

 

December Reads

December Reads

With a long extended trip to visit family in December I was able to squeeze in a couple of great books along the way.  

The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books by Nancy Guthrie:  I have been absolutely amazed with this Bible Study.  This 10 week study covers the historical books of the Bible which include Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.  I have been blown away by Guthrie’s ability to help me see Jesus in the Old Testament.  Each chapter covers one of the historical books and includes a personal bible study, teaching section, and teaching chapter.  The book is written to be used within a group or alone.  I have been using this book by myself but I do think that it would be a great Bible Study for women who are serious about learning God’s Word.  Guthrie does a nice job of using charts to compare an Old Testament figure and Jesus.  For example she compares Boaz as our Redeemer and then Jesus as our Redeemer side by side.  I have been familiar with the concept of Jesus in the Old Testament for a couple of years but this book has really helped solidify seeing Jesus throughout the pages of the Old Testament.  The only thing that I wish the author had done differently was to divide up the Personal Bible Study section into days.  I did find that I spent over a week on each chapter which might make this a little challenging if I were to study it in a group setting.  I understand that there is also an accompanying DVD which can be used with this study but I did not have access to it.  Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy from Crossway in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.  This book does not come bound but I spent the extra money to have mine bound.  🙂

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp: This Christmas devotional book was wonderful.  It includes 25 devotions for the Advent season to help you prepare your heart for Christmas.  It was a delight to work through this book this past Advent.  At the end of each devotion the author asks three questions and also provides space for the reader to answer the questions.  I think this added so much to the book!  Voskamp also includes a practical idea each day of applying the truths that are studied.  She also includes a link on her website to make an ornament for your Jesse Tree.  I had a newborn this past Christmas so I wasn’t able to have a Jesse Tree and honestly I did not do many of the suggested application ideas.  I am looking forward to working through this book again next year.  If you are looking for a gift next Christmas I think this book would make a wonderful gift but you would probably want to give it to the receiver at Thanksgiving.

Building Her House by Nancy Wilson: I was thrilled to receive this book as a Christmas gift.  Each section includes a short 3 page essay on a given topic that relates to Christian service, relationships, marriage, mothering, and attitudes.  I really appreciated Wilson’s down to earth attitude and the wisdom that is contained within the pages of this book.  I found myself challenged on a few different areas including my opinions on children playing sports.  This is a great book for any woman but I think women who believe they are too busy to read would really benefit since each section is only a few pages.

Sex and the Single Christian Girl by Marian Ellis: I really enjoyed reading this book although I am no longer a single Christian girl.  I am blessed with a number of friends who are in this season of life which is why I wanted to read this book.  Throughout this book Ellis shares the pitfalls of giving in to temptation and the blessings of God’s best by waiting.  I loved the practical advice that was shared throughout this book and wish that Ellis had written it sooner!  The book also includes a discussion guide in the back to be used by a group studying the book.  I think this book would be great to use in an older young women’s bible study.  My only complaint with the book is that I don’t believe Ellis spoke enough about same-sex attraction or masturbation.  From my counseling studies I realize that both of these issues are becoming even more rampant throughout the church today.  Overall I believe this book is an excellent resource for single Christian women and also for those who work with women in this season of life.  Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy from Bethany House in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis: When I am looking for a nice, light, fiction read I often turn to Beverly Lewis.  Despite having written numerous Christian Amish Fiction books I always enjoy each one of her books.  This book did not disappoint and I look forward to reading the next book that she writes.

The Nursing Mother’s Herbal by Sheila Humphrey: I find myself very interested in the art of breastfeeding and natural health so this was a great book to read.  While nursing I do want to be cautious that I am not ingesting anything that has the potential to have a negative impact on my baby or my milk supply.  (I am also a breast milk donor for premature babies so I have to be very cautious.)  This book was great!  It is very thorough and even includes various recipes for different herbal concoctions.

Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman-Hale: This was a delightful sewing book filled with various projects that are all “zakka style”.  Although I do like the Zakka Style I do not find myself often sewing with linen.  It just seems difficult (since it wrinkles) and expensive.  Thankfully many of these projects could be adapted to using regular cotton fabric.  Honestly I am too busy to sew any of these items at this time but I would love to sew the house zippered pouch for Eva when she gets older.

 

May and June Reads

29 Jun
Almost all of these books were read while on vacation.

Almost all of these books were read while on vacation.

The past two months have been busy!  A lot of my reading time has been given to gardening and other summer activities.  I still managed to read a few though.  Most of my reading the past two months took place on 2 of the vacations I went on.  🙂  I’ve also been able to sneak a little reading in on rainy days.  

Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman: Furman is the mother of four young children and is currently the wife of a church planter in Dubai.  This book was a wonderful read for my heart especially for my current stage of life.  This book encourages all mothers to see the reality of God’s grace in our everyday life (especially in the areas that seem unimportant).  I was encouraged and challenged throughout the book.  Just yesterday I found myself frustrated with a discipline issue with my son.  Then the Lord brought to mind something that she had said in her book.  I am thankful for this book and look forward to reading her forth-coming book next year.

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould: This was my first novel to enjoy by Ms. Gould.  This is an Amish fiction book which I did enjoy despite some of the unrealistic liberties that the author takes throughout the book.  Adoring Addie is in some ways a modern-day Romeo & Juliet.  

Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth:  I found this book to be very insightful.  Not only is it a book about saving money but the book is about doing all that we can to go green.  The book did include many money-saving ideas and challenged me to think differently about saving energy.  I have also read Sleeth’s book Almost Amish and would recommend that book as well.

Though Waters Roar and Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin:  I really enjoyed both of these books by Lynn Austin.  Austin is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors.  I’m hoping our library has a few more of her books.  🙂

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman: This book is written by an American mother who while living in France discovered what she calls the “wisdom of French parenting.”  I found this book to be intriguing in many aspects.  Although there are many aspects of French parenting I would not want to copy here (like the small percentage of French women who breastfeed) there are many other things I can appreciate about French parenting.  At the very least I found this book intriguing to get a sneak peek at how women in another culture mother their children.

Rachel Ray 30 Minute GET REAL Meals: I thought this cookbook was so lame.  I bookmarked three meals that I thought looked decent but the husband shot down all three.  The thing I really disliked about this book was the fact that most of the recipes in the book cost a lot of money to make.  I do like to cook but the primary reason that I cook is to save my family money.  I doubt I will ever  cook something that costs as much to make as it would to eat it at a restaurant.

Have you read any great books this month?  

April Reads

26 May

May 2013 001   I can’t believe I am just now sharing what I read the last month.  I guess I will just blame it on being pregnant and the fact that I was blessed to go on vacation twice.  🙂  

Journey to Joy: The Psalms of Ascent by Josh Moody.  This is the first book that I have ever read on the Psalms of Ascent and I must say I really enjoyed it.  One thing I really love about these Psalms is the fact that they tell it just like it is.  There is a wide variety of emotions seen throughout these psalms that everyone can relate to.  I loved Moody’s writing style because it didn’t come off as so intellectually deep that you didn’t want to read past the first chapter.  Instead I found myself asking myself questions as I learned so much by reading this book!

Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Food Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni.  I must say I really enjoyed browsing through this book.  The book definitely lives up to its name as it is full of recipes to make all sorts of “junk food” the healthy way.  I haven’t made any of the recipes yet so I can’t attest to their taste but I will say they look great.  A few of the recipes are a little to time intensive for me to tackle like homemade Goldfish but overall a very neat book.

While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin.  This was a delightful fiction book that I had a hard time putting down.  This book takes place during the War and chronicles 3 families whose lives intersect each other.  This was my first book by Austin but I will be sure to look for more of her books in the future.

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis.  Lewis is my favorite author when it comes to Amish Fiction and this book certainly did not disappoint.  Jodi is a young English schoolteacher who finds a young Amish girl all alone on the side of the road.  I don’t want to say too much else about the book to give anything away but this book was great!

Dick Raymond’s Gardening Year by Dick Raymond.  This is an excellent companion book to Raymond’s other book Joy of Gardening.  In this book Raymond walks you through what he does month by month throughout the year when it comes to gardening.  Although I grew up helping in our family garden I consider myself still pretty green when it comes to my own gardening knowledge.  This book along with Joy of Gardening have been my go to guides this year.

Do you have any book recommendations for me?  I’d love to hear what you are reading.  

March Reads

11 Apr

 

 

Easter 2013 135

I have been trying to take it easy lately which means more time for reading!  🙂  I have also been trying to prioritize reading more books aloud to Eli.  This month Elijah & I read two books together: Farming with Father & Old Town in the Green Groves.  These are both chapter books which I read aloud before nap time each day.  I’m really hoping to continue reading more and more chapter books to Eli.  So far I think we have read 10 chapter books together.  You can see which books we have read together here.  I would love suggestions for more chapter books to read to him in the near future.  (He is 3 and all boy but loves books!)

Taking God Seriously by J.I. Packer: I’m a big fan of J.I. Packer so I was really excited to read his newest book.  Although he does mention the Anglican church often throughout the book the material is still relevant to all believers.  The chapters in the book all detail taking the following seriously: Faith, Doctrine, Christian Unity, Repentance, Church, Holy Spirit, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  I enjoyed reading this book and thinking through each of these different aspects of Christianity.  Honestly it has been a long time since I thought through all of these things.  If you are new to Packer’s works I would recommend starting with Knowing God which is excellent.  Please note I received a review copy from Crossway in exchange for this review.

 Raising Real Men:Surviving, Teaching, & Appreciating Boys: by Hal & Melanie Young.  As the title suggests this book is all about raising boys.  The authors have SIX boys so they know a thing or two about them.  I only have one son (so far) who is shall we say ALL BOY.  Despite the many accidents we encounter on a weekly basis and the never-ceasing energy he is an absolute delight.  I am so thankful that I found this book while my son is young.  What a blessing!  All of the advice in the book was wonderful.  We are currently expecting another child and everyone has been asking me if I am hoping for a girl.  Although I would be happy with a boy or a girl, I am almost hoping more that we have a boy.  I think boys are wonderful and would gladly welcome a house full of them.  As I’m sure you can guess this was one of my favorite books I read this past month.  If you have sons I would highly recommend it!

Big, Beautiful, & Pregnant: Expert Advice & Comforting Wisdom for Expecting Plus-Size Woman by Cornelia van der Ziel M.D.  As a plus-sized expecting woman myself I thought it was wonderful that someone had written a book specifically for plus-sized women during pregnancy.  I wasn’t a plus-sized girl during my last pregnancy so this book was especially helpful to me in thinking through some of the different issues plus-sized women sometimes encounter during pregnancy.

Learning to Love: Passion, Compassion, & the Essence of the Gospel by Heidi & Rolland Baker.  Unfortunately I was very disappointed with this book.  It is about the Bakers who currently serve in Mozambique.  The book itself felt very unconnected and did not flow together at all.  I honestly had a really hard time getting through this book and I love books about missionaries.  I also felt a little bit uncomfortable with many of the methods that the Bakers used.  Please note I did receive a complimentary copy from Chosen Books in exchange for my review.

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl.  I am a big fan of Amish/Mennonite fiction but this book was a huge disappointment.  I found the whole plot to the story so incredibly far-fetched that it was hard to enjoy this book.  Most of the book was slow-moving and a little hard to follow at times.  I did find that the ending was surprisingly good.  If you are in the market for a good Amish/Mennonite fiction book I would pass this book up and find another one.  Please note that I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for my review from Bethany House Publishers.

Obamacare Survival Guide by Nick Tate.  I do not do a good job of keeping up with politics.  I do realize the potentiality of Obamacare to drastically impact my family so the issue definitely gets my attention.  We are currently expecting and also hope to have more children in the future so I know that healthcare will continue to be something I care a lot about.  I thought this book was great in clearly explaining many of the implications of Obamacare so that it can be understood.  I’m no expert on the subject after reading the book but I do feel empowered that I know much more than I did last month.  This book also has some great summary chapters at the end of the book that I would recommend anyone reading even if they can’t commit to reading the entire thing.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.  The author is a well-known midwife who practices in Tennessee.  A close friend who has been blessed with 2 natural births recommended the book to me.  I’m so glad she did!  The first part of the book is filled with wonderful, encouraging birth stories.  I only wish this section were longer.  Although I can’t say that I would be comfortable with every technique utilized in this book I really enjoyed this book.  It was so unlike most other pregnancy books which tend to treat pregnancy like a disease.  I really appreciated Gaskin’s attitude about birth and pregnancy.

What books did you read last month?  

February Reads

5 Mar
I spent lots of time reading this past month.

I spent lots of time reading this past month.

 

I took a nice break from sewing for most of the month and focused my attention on reading.  

Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick.  This is the incredible story of 15-year-old Jennifer Barrick who was hit by a drunk driver along with her family.  She was in a coma for five weeks while her mother (the author) pleaded with God to heal her of her severe brain trauma.  As Jen slept she rested in God’s presence and was forever changed when she woke up.  I don’t read a lot of books like this one but I found it incredibly encouraging.  What an awesome reminder of how mighty God is!  I highly recommend this one.  Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my review.

Mommy Time by Sarah Arthur.  As a relatively new mom (my son is only 3) and someone who just found out they are expecting again (hooray) I was really excited to read this book.  It was written as a devotional for new moms to read during the first couple months of being a mother.  It wasn’t a bad book but it didn’t strike me as very devotional after reading it.  There is a Bible passage on each page but the words that Arthur wrote after that don’t have that much to do with the Bible verse.  Honestly I just felt like the book was pretty shallow.  I vividly still remember the first couple months of being a new mom.  I didn’t need someone’s opinions and stories from being a mom as my “devotion for the day.” What I needed was the Gospel-just give me Jesus!  I needed to soak my teeth into the Scriptures even if it was only for a few minutes and be refreshed.  Being a new mother is tough and this book sure didn’t cut it for me.  A big disappointment.  During my first year of being a mom I wrote a blog post entitled “Creative Ways to Spend More Time With God.”  One of the biggest changes for me personally when I became a new mom was not having all of this wonderful time to spend as much time as I wanted reading my Bible.  Please note I did receive an advanced reader copy in exchange for my review.

Faithmapping by Daniel Montgomery & Mike Cosper:   I was pretty excited to read this book since the authors were both pastors at the church where my husband attended (Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY) before we got married.  Isn’t that neat?  I found myself forcing myself to only read one chapter most days so that I could really soak up what the chapter had to say to me personally.  It was so good that it was hard to put down.  I loved how the authors brought together many different aspects of Christianity together in a way that few books have done.  I found this book’s emphasis on the Gospel, the Church, and the World so helpful.  It is incredibly solid theologically and yet very practical.  I would recommend it to all Christians.  Please note I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my review.


Raising Baby Green by Alan Greene: As a somewhat crunchy mama (I love breastfeeding, cloth diapers, attachment parenting, & whole foods) I was incredibly disappointed by this book.  I felt like there was a huge disconnect with this book.  The author is clearly not in the real world.  I would love to only dress my children in organic clothing but that just isn’t going to happen.  We do our part for the environment by purchasing most of our clothing used, cloth diapering almost exclusively, cooking from scratch, raising a garden, breastfeeding, and many other things.  If you aren’t in the real world and have an unlimited budget this is probably a great book for you.  I however thought it was really lame.

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte: I’ve been interested in companion planting for a while and decided February was the perfect time to learn all about it.  (Companion planting means that some plants grow better when they are planted next to certain plants.)  The book itself is actually more of a dictionary where you can look up a specific plant and then read about what it grows best with.  I skimmed the book and took notes on all of the plants I plan on planting this year.  I plan on putting into practice a lot of the book’s advice in my garden this summer so we shall see.  🙂

More than Petticoats: Remarkable Kentucky Women by Mimi O’Malley: As a native Kentuckian I found this book about incredible Kentucky women fascinating.  Having taken Kentucky history as a history major in college and having lived in Kentucky my entire life I was semi-familiar with many of the women in this book.  It was wonderful to get to read a short biography of each one.  Some of them were absolutely fascinating including Mary Breckinridge who founded the first midwifery service in Kentucky.  It just so happens that it is located in my college roommate’s hometown.  🙂  Overall a pretty neat book and a gem to find at my local library.

Did you read any great books this past month? 

Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan: 31 Days in Romans with Elyse Fitzpatrick

22 Feb
Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan

Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan

 

I wanted to take a minute to share with all of you ladies about Crossway’s upcoming Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan: 31 Days in Romans with Elyse Fitzpatrick.  I don’t know about you but I”m already behind in my plans for reading the Bible this year but I’m excited about spending the month of March in Romans.

The Crossway website says this about the campaign:

“If you never got off the ground with a 2013 Bible reading plan or are so far behind you’ve already thrown in the towel, join us on Mondays in March on the Crossway blog as we read Romans 1-8 together. Each Monday in March, Elyse Fitzpatrick will share devotional thoughts from Romans, helping us delight in God’s word and rejoice in the gospel in 2013. We invite you to bring questions, insights, and interact in the comments section. For more devotional material to accompany Reboot with Romans, check out Elyse’s newest book­—Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time.”

I am super pumped about this.  Elyse Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite authors up there right next to Elisabeth Elliot!  God has used the words in her books like a fine scalpel to mold my heart.  If I could encourage you to read one new author in the next year it would be Fitzpatrick.  I did receive a complimentary copy of Comforts from Romans from Crossway but I would have definitely purchased it myself if they hadn’t been so kind to send me one.  🙂  I have also read the following books by Fitzpatrick: Idols of the Heart, Because He Loves Me, Give them Grace, Comforts from the Cross, Overcoming Fear, Worry, & Anxiety, Counsel from the Cross, Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, Will Medicine Stop the Pain, & Women Counseling Women.  When I say I love Fitzpatrick’s books I’m not kidding!  🙂

January Reads

31 Jan
Lots of great books this month!

Lots of great books this month!

 

It’s hard to believe January is almost over.  Where did this month go?  Looks like I spent a lot of time reading this month.  🙂

Esther by John Piper: I was surprised when I received this book that it was actually a poetry book.  Just one long poem about Esther.  🙂  I originally thought this book would be similar to Piper’s A Sweet & Bitter Providence (about the book of Ruth) which I have also read.  The illustrations in this book were lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Piper’s poetry.  One could easily sit down and read this short book in one sitting as I did.  After reading this book I am sure I will be reading more of Piper’s poetry.  I also think this book would make a wonderful gift!

As Silver Refined: Learning to Embrace Life’s Disappointments by Kay Arthur: I’ve been a fan of Kay Arthur for years and found this book to be great.  I read it much slower than I usually do and spread out the book throughout the month.  I would read a chapter and then think, ponder, and pray about what God was teaching me through this book.  I think this is the first book I have every read on disappointments even though everyone faces some sort of disappointments in life.  I have no doubt that I will be recommending this book to friends in the future and may possibly use it in counseling.

What’s Your Problem by John Yates: I picked up this book at the library and I must say it was interesting.  He gives helpful suggestions on resolving all sorts of various problems consumers might have.  Personally I am currently having a big problem with HP over a broken laptop so I found this book very helpful.  I do wish that he would have included more specifics in his chapter on fixing problems with your health insurance company.  Overall a nice library book but not one I would want to own.

The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, & Get the Best Medical Care Every Time by Elizabeth S. Cohen.  This book was awesome.  Well as awesome as a book about healthcare can be.  🙂  A lot of the tips in the book I was already familiar with especially the section on prescription drugs.  I now feel like I have a much better understanding of how pharmaceutical companies influence physician’s decisions when prescribing medicine.  There were also some wonderful sheets to print off in the appendix when preparing for an appointment with your healthcare provider.  I ALWAYS take notes when I go to the doctor for any reason but I found this book to include great suggestions.  Cohen suggests writing down your top 3 concerns before visiting your doctor so that you make sure to discuss them.  Great book!

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler:   I was a little intimidated to review Dr. Mohler’s latest book.  You see I actually graduated from the seminary where he is president less than 2 years ago.  🙂  I have heard him speak on numerous occasions, have met him in person, and have even been over to his house for a reception where I saw his famous library.  😉  I think it has been about four years since I have read a book on leadership or thought much about leadership for that matter.  I don’t know that I would really see myself as a leader today although in the past I would have.  Everyone is a leader to someone though.  I picked up this book because I was really hoping that Dr. Mohler would share about the beginnings of his presidency at Southern.  Although he shared bits and pieces I was a little disappointed that he did not share more.  (I realize this wasn’t the premise of the book but I was just secretly hoping.)  This book was surprisingly easy to read even though I always found myself going huh? during his chapel sermons.  🙂  I did find myself enjoying the book-especially the chapter on how leaders are readers.  I’ve definitely got that one covered!

Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik: This book was awesome!  I found myself just wanting to start painting things.  I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have any paint in the house or I might have ended up painting my piano pink.  J/K 😉  (Yes I have played on a pink piano before.)  I absolutely loved this book and hope to purchase it in the future.  Even if you don’t own your home (we don’t) there are many small things you can do to give your house some love.  I am hoping to try my hand at painting a lamp or small table this summer.  This book is very inspiring and I loved that the couple is young & inexperienced just like me!

Sewing Lingerie that Fits by Karen Morris: This book was wonderful and also inspiring.  I learned so much reading through this book that I even  purchased a pattern to make a simple slip and hope to complete it sometime next month.  The book even talks about bra construction which is something I doubt I will ever attempt!

Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola: This book about nature study for children was absolutely adorable.  The book is written as a journal of a young mother with two children who wants to teach them more about nature.  I found myself falling in love with the young mom and so wish I could invite her over for tea.  Too bad she’s a fictional character!  This book is packed full of encouragement and ideas on teaching your children to love nature.  Elijah and I have long been nature walkers.  I hope to continue this tradition throughout his childhood.  The book also details keeping nature notebooks which I think would also be fun in the future.  Eli seems a bit young for this right now.  🙂  I was encouraged by this book to set more time aside throughout our day for just enjoying the beautiful nature that is around us.

Mini-Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham.  This book was perfect for the current cold season.  I am itching to get started on my garden!  The book spends a lot of time discussing raised beds.  Unlike other gardening/homesteading books Mini Farming encourages the reader to think about what gardening could mean financially to their family.  Markham notes that for many families the increasing cost of food makes it impossible for both parents not to work full-time.  (Sadly food prices continue to soar each year.)  He talks about how mini-farming could free up a substantial amount of money that might allow one spouse to work fewer hours or even stay home.  In the book he also gives suggestions for selling excess produce in order to generate more income.  I don’t think we will be selling produce this upcoming year but it does give me something to think about.  This book encouraged me to see my gardening as almost a part-time job that will bring incredible financial and health benefits to my family.

What books did you read the past month?  Do you have any recommendations?