Category Archives: What I’m Reading

What I’m Reading, June 2017

Yep.  June means strawberries.

Strawberry pie for Pete’s birthday. Strawberries in the freezer.  Fresh strawberries for dessert.

I like moving into the summer schedule.  No stress to be out the door in time for school. More quiet time in the morning, which is critical for my mental health.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for this month’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

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At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Kyle and Tsh Oxenreider took their three kids, ages 4-10 on a 9 month, around the world trip.

That in itself piques curiosity.

It’s a transparent book about international travel: the heat, the crowds, the kids puking.

Tsh chronicles their globe trotting, but, more importantly, reflects on some of the deepest longings of the human heart: how to make a home, the need for belonging, even peace with God no matter where we lay our heads.

These are favorite topics for me: what are the elements of “home”? What is the drive behind wanderlust? What are the deeper longings of the heart that cause restlessness and rootlessness? How do we satisfy our longing for community regardless of where we rest our heads?

I think these are questions worth pondering.

I know a lot of global nomads. I know these are issues for them. They are issues for me.

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Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The novelized account of our country’s first female sheriff was fascinating.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  How they hold their own, some family secrets and facing danger head on made for a great story.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.


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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Note: Heads up for language.

I didn’t really understand apartheid until I read this book.

Seeing how it played out in people’s lives is sobering.

Trevor Noah has a white father and a black mother.  In South Africa, it was illegal for his father and mother to procreate.  His very existance was against the law, hence the title, Born a Crime.

It’s mind-blowing to think about the world and the life that Trevor Noah was born into. It’s a cautionary tale, especially for those who have a vote in their government’s laws and leaders.

I liked Noah’s personal and relatable writing style as well as the occasional political commentary.


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Hashimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz

I found that this book isn’t as readable as her other book. Not sure why. I have to take it a little bit at a time.

For me, I’ve implemented one or two things at a time. Making wholesale changes was too overwhelming. But, it’s amazing the difference little tweaks can make.

I don’t have all the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. I think that’s because there are so many different root causes, and often multiple root causes. Pinpointing the root causes takes time as well as trial and error. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Even though I see some dramatic improvements in my health, there’s still a long way to go.

What are you reading this month?

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What I’m Reading, May 2017

The lilacs have come and gone in our yard, and I didn’t get one picture of them.

My husband walked away from a serious car accident virtually uninjured.  We took a quick trip to PA for a wedding.  The school year is wrapping up with characteristic craziness.

Some great books read this month and one abandoned.

Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Discosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

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Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng

I liked this book, although I wasn’t sure where it was going and didn’t know I liked it till the end.

It’s about a teenage girl who comes up missing.  Rarely have I read a novel that explores the family dynamic in such depth.  It felt believable.  It rang true.  You could feel the pain.  People do things for a reason and even extreme behavior can be understandable.

I wouldn’t say that the characters in this novel were relatable.  But, there was enough mystery to propel the novel forward and a fascinating tangle of human relationships.

It was a real case study in family systems.

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry.  This one did.

Love, friendship, community and social awkwardness.  It’s the recipe for a great novel.

Ove is near the end of his life, but this novel takes us back to his family, his first love and his losses. It is a bittersweet exploration of what really matters in relationships and what gets in the way.

It demonstrates in brilliant colors that no man is an island.

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The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This novel is an unusual look at marriage.  It traces the story of two fictional characters, but steps back to analyze and philosophize at intervals between the story.

I found it fascinating because the dynamics between husbands and wives are more complex than we give them credit.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this to young people because it does normalize non-traditional values, I found the interactions to be instructive.

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Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

I loved this book written for middle grades and I read it twice.

It gets five stars for being wholesome and a thumbs up for real heroes.  When I read middle grade, I find myself identifying with the teachers and principals.  Ha.

I loved the two families portrayed here and the real struggle with how twelve year olds deal with the heavy issues of life.

I liked her style.  I liked her characters.  I loved seeing the main character win the battles in his world.

This is How it always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is an exceptionally well-written novel.  I abandoned it, however, because it contradicts my world view.  I know there is a growing trend to accept the abnormal as normal and even to embrace it.  But, this is a dangerous trend.  It starts with presuppositions that aren’t true and builds on premises that aren’t true.  I feel that well-meaning people are genuinely deceived.

Books that normalize non-traditional values are not for me.  This is why I abandoned it.

What are you reading this month?

Stay tuned for my Summer Reading Guide for All Ages  Coming soon!

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What I’m Reading, April 2017

Wow.  What a month.

I stepped into my sister’s shoes and cared for her four daughters (ages 2 to 12) while she and her husband led a team to Israel.

I explored why I’m directionally challenged and what helps.

I went to Peru to catch up with my hubby who had already been in South America for a week.  It was a ministry trip that didn’t go as planned.  Our laptop got stolen, I missed my plane in Miami, massive flooding in Peru meant changes in itinerary and an unplanned visit in LA became one of the highlights of the trip.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

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A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

I loved Katherine Reay’s first book, Lizzy and Jane.  Her second and third ones not so much.  I found this one to be slow moving.  By the end, I came to appreciate the setting and the plot was satisfying.  I can’t say I identified strongly with the characters or it was one of my all-time favorite books.

Emily Price is a professional restorer of art on assignment in Atlanta.  She meets Joseph and his brother, Ben, Italian natives that have family in Atlanta.  Emily discovers Ben and Joseph’s family differs quite a bit from her own and long buried family secrets are revealed.

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The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

Kara’s bravery in the face of her own mortality is inspiring.

It’s hard for young children to lose their mother to cancer.  It feels unjust.  But, Kara’s acceptance of God’s will for her life showed the world what it means to believe that God is good, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

She faced the reality that her marriage wasn’t eternal.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with God’s sovereignty.

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was gratuitous language.  Sometimes language in a dialogue can prove a point, but there’s no good reason for it to be in the narrative.

That being said, I love the social analysis wrapped around a boot-strapping overcomer’s story. J.D. Vance emerged from an impoverished childhood to graduated from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

It has some similarities to Ben Carson’s story in Gifted Hands.

I love the positive impact and stability the author’s grandparents brought to his life.

My heart breaks for the young people in this country, especially for the homes that so many grow up in–for the poverty–not of money so much as love, stability, education and faith.

One thing that struck me is that the author wasn’t able to find much help in counseling, but research, learning and understanding about himself and his formative years brought a measure of peace.

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An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

“The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.”

An inspiring story, well told.

An Invisible Thread is a story that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.   This is another book that made me get philosophical.  The culture of poverty at work again.  And, once again, it’s not so much about the money.  It’s the opportunities, the education, even the relationships that are poor.  And that plays out into material lack.  The whole mindset has to change.  The way you believe about yourself has to change.  The way you believe about your destiny has to change:  are you a victim of your circumstances or do you control your fate?

Laura Schroff reached out to Maurice in a gesture of friendship and began a relationship that endured three decades.  She nurtured her unexpressed maternal instinct.  He grabbed a lifeline out of a culture of poverty. It’s interesting that one thing read more

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The Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe

Lisa Becker was a German Jew escaping Hitler’s regime seeming sanctuary in England.  Torn from her family at age 14, the struggle to love trust and suffer loss follows her.  She faces the uncertainty of life during war time.

I liked this book.  It made me wonder about how we deal with loss, especially how children deal with loss.  Although a work of fiction, it highlighted the heroism and sacrifice of the British people during World War II.

Strangers giving homes to children is a beautiful thing.  What makes a community?  What makes a family? My mind always strays to the philosophical.

Highly recommended.

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz

This is a very through tome.  And although it ‘s written conversationally for laymen, there are parts that made my eyes glaze over.

Have read a lot of Izabella’s articles on the internet and implementing her advice, based on my experience and her recommendations, I suggest these first steps:

  1. Eliminate gluten.  This has been found to benefit a high percentage of Hashimoto’s sufferers.  It has certainly helped me.
  2. Take selenium supplements.  Start with 200 mpg and work up to 400 mpg.  Take on an empty stomach paired with Vitamin E for best absorption. I’m taking quite a few supplements and I’m convinced that this one is helping the most.
  3. Buy the book.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.  Brain fog, short term memory loss and difficulty focusing and concentrating are symptoms of Hashimoto’s, so you might need to read more                                                                                                                                                  What are you reading this month?
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What I’m Reading March 2017

Although we did have snow accumulate this week, the weather in general continues mild.

White barns figure prominently in my life lately as I’ve been pondering why I’m severely directionally challenged.  I’m happy to say I’ve made strides in my navigational ability in the past two weeks.

Still reading from the Best of 16 Lists, so lots of good reads and my life is happy.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit for March.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a portion of your purchase will go to support this site.)

The Revenge of Analog by David Sax

Sax looks at the growing interest in vinyl records, board games, paper, printed books, watches with springs and gears and retails stores.

One of the most interesting observations in the digital versus analog debate is the idea that there exists a greater need to engage all of the senses.  Digital captalizes on the visual.  Holding a book in your hand and physically turning pages is a different experience than reading on a screen.

Revenge held a special interest to me since we own a bookstore. We tried to get into ebook sales several years ago, but that didn’t pan out. Some report that ebook sales have plateaued and are possibly now declining.

I think ebooks will settle into a niche.  The great thing about ebooks is they can lower the barrier for readers.  They can be shorter.  They can be cheaper.  There’s no pressure to recoup the cost of printing.

It’s interesting to me to see the way trends develop.  The rise and fall of trains, for instance, and the disappearance of phone booths and eight tracks.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I abandoned Persuasion after trying over and over again to get into it.  I read at least 100 pages, but  just could not get engaged.  I really wanted to like it.  I love Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.  Even though I haven’t read Emma, I liked the story in the movie version.

So, I’m still a little puzzled why this Austen didn’t work for me. I felt the plot moved too slowly and I didn’t find the characters relatable.

If you’re a fan of Persuasion, I’d love to hear why.

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

I was surprised that I enjoyed this book, even though it had a somewhat predictable plot.  There was enough mystery to keep the pages turning and enough resolution to feel satisfying.

The story focuses on an architect from Chicago who is forced to confront her past in small town, Iowa.

Simple, sweet story.

Do It Well. Make It Fun. by Ronald P. Culberson

I stumbled on this book randomly at the library.  Wanting to improve the quality of my work has been on my mind for a long time, so naturally, the title caught my attention.  There’s so many things in my life I don’t do well.  There’s so many things I let slide for shear survival.  How do you do it well?

Fun tends to be an illusive element in my life, as well.

I enjoyed Culbertson’s humor and anecdotes.  However, looking back, there wasn’t any advice that was memorable enough to stick with me.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 

Good story.  In the tradition of Johnny Tremain, except based on an historical person.

Nat Bowditch was very smart, but he wasn’t able to go to Harvard because he was indentured at age 12 to work as a bookkeeper.  Because his family had fallen on hard times, it was necessary for him to work to earn his keep.

The story is inspires kids to persevere in the face of difficult circumstances.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

What a great book!

Every Christian should read this as well as every Muslim.  I learned so much more about the context that Muslims live, learn and think in.  Nabeel made reference to the shame-honor cultures, in contrast to the guilt-innocence culture that we live in.  So much of what he accepted to be true was in the context of the person in authority teaching him the truth.

First, he sought to understand and disprove Christianity.  He had been given a lot of coaching answers for arguments with Christians.  For those of his friends who didn’t know their faith well enough, he was able to counter their arguments.  In college, he finally had a Christian friends who had a deep enough understanding to show him where his arguments were coming up short.

What he eventually found was that the sacred writings of his religion did not match up with what he had been taught his whole life.

It was a painful conversion.  He sacrificed much to finally embrace Christianity.  The chapters on his personal dreams and visions were fascinating.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood

I listened to the author interview on Read Aloud Revival and was intrigued enough to check out the books.

Lots of fun elements, although the characters of the children aren’t developed, like in the Penderwick series.

But, there’s some mystery.

Lots of great principles for kids to live by.

Penelope is a likable charachter.

The time period and the setting are fun.  What is it about British children’s stories that opens the door to possibilities?

Plus, I just have to say I love the word incorrigible.


Interesting movie for book lovers.  Great cast. Follows the life of Thomas Wolfe.

It’s a slow moving story, but a fascinating behind the scenes look at historical book publishing.

I conclude that editors are the unsung heroes of the industry.

What have you read this month?



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3 Things I Learned, Winter 2017


Winter has been screwy this year.

Three years ago, the view from my kitchen window looked like Winter.

This year, not so much.

It’s been a great season for learning new things, though.  I love learning!

  1. Routine can be an idol

“Don’t make an idol of routine” has been echoing in my head since I read it in Jesus Calling a couple of days ago.  Boy, has that been a problem lately.

Today we had a breakfast meeting.  That throws all my morning routines into chaos, unless I am able to get up earlier than normal and get them all in.  Today I wasn’t able to.  So, I skipped most of them.

Even though habits help me so much, I  have a problem being consistent.  I fall off the bandwagon over and over and over.  Right now, I’m not exercising.  I’m hit and miss doing my 3 minute mail purge every morning, even though those two things are good for me.

We haven’t had family night for the past three weeks.  This sends me into a tail spin.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on having one relaxing night every week.

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So, have I made an idol of routine?  Even when I’m not good at keeping up with habits that are good for me?  When I’m trying to accept and deal with unforeseen circumstances? Or unavoidable scheduling issues that prevent me from following through on routines?  I don’t know.  It’s hard to let go.  It’s also hard to push myself to be consistent.  So, I don’t really know where I stand on this.  But, I do know it’s a struggle for me and one that causes me stress.

Also, just like money can be an idol, whether you have it or not, routine can be an idol whether you have it or not.  Brand new thought for me.

2. Writing 500 words a day is good for my emotional health

Last Fall, I took on the challenge to write 500 words a day.  This method of writing intersperses all my random thoughts, pre-writing and self-talk along with some deeper, more profound thoughts. You have to sort through the fluff to get to the nuggets.

Focused writing is good for blog posts.  But, getting down all the random thoughts is good for my emotional health.

Another thing I learned was the importance of separating  my writing (drafting) time from my blogging (editing, formatting, pictures and promoting) time.  I need time for both every day.

Even more of a breakdown than that.  Journaling is a different activity than drafting blog posts, though they do tend to overlap and influence each other.

Also, brainstorming is a completely different activity. I need time for that, too, but it’s not necessarily something I need every day.  It could happen once a week.

3. The definition of grit

Grit= passion + perseverance

This definition comes from Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverence .

I checked this book out as an ebook from the library.  I was maybe a third of the way through when the book came due and disappeared from my Kindle.  But, the definition of grit stay with me.

The author proposes that grit is a better predictor of success than IQ.  I see her point.  I need to check it out again and finish the book.

There’s scads of things I’m learning right now, but I’m having a harder than usual time synthesizing and articulating them.

So, I’ll leave it there for now.

Linking up with Emily Freeman and other bloggers sharing what we’ve learned.

What have you learned? 

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The Invention of Wings Book Review

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was pleasantly surprised with The Invention of Wings.  It is masterfully written.  It reminded me Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eugenia Price.  The story follows two girls throughout their lives– one a slave girl, one the daughter of a judge.

It’s good to stop and think about what our country was like in the 1800s.  How slavery embedded itself into the very fabric of society, how the evil grew and the power that was necessary to break it’s stranglehold on large portions of the country.

One thing I appreciated about the book was the role of faith.  So many novels leave it out entirely.  Missiologists even have a term for it, the law of the excluded middle.  American culture tends to attribute everything to science and ignores the supernatural completely.  I think this is just as dangerous as the cultures who see devils behind every bush.

I was shocked to find out at the end of the book that the novel was based on the lives of real people.  Fiction was weaved in with the facts, and the author lays out what was true and what was invented at the end of the book.

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What I’m Reading, February 2017

The view from my kitchen doesn’t look like winter without snow, but I’ll take it.

This is the warmest winter I can remember in Indiana.  I’m not complaining.  Cold is not my friend.

Here’s the pic before editing;  which just goes to show what perspective and spin can do.

Five star books this month!  I think February is my new favorite month for reading great books.

Appreciation due to bloggers who post “Best of” Lists.  Read my favorite lists here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

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One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

This novel is brilliantly written.  The quirky characters are relatable. The story is the unlikely friendship between an eleven year old boy and a 104 year old woman.  And, yet, it’s so much more than that.

It’s about human connection.

What makes a marriage work?  How does a parent relate read more

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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was pleasantly surprised with The Invention of Wings.  It is masterfully written.  It reminded me Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eugenia Price.  The story follows two girls throughout their lives– one a slave girl, the other a daughter of a judge.

It’s good to stop and think about what our country was like in the 1800s.  How slavery embedded itself into the very fabric of society, how the evil grew and the power that was necessary to break it’s stranglehold on large portions of the country.

One thing I appreciated about the book read more

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What a great book!  I highly recommend it for all ages.

I like the literary device of telling the story from different points of view.

I love the way it tackles head on: embarrassment, shame, discouragement, rising above difficult circumstances, the elements of a true friendship.

It strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a person.  Where do you fit into society.  How does society react to you?

It’s not just an overcomer story.  It’s a family systems story.  Our family of origin matters so much when it comes to what we believe about ourselves.

August Pullman is a likable fellow.  If he were a jerk, this story wouldn’t have worked.

I love the middle school principal in this story.  I love the way he has a deep understanding of kids.  I love how he can see past the surface level to what is happening beneath the surface.  So good for teachers, administrators, youth pastors–everyone who deals with kids, as well as kids themselves.

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Published. by Chandler Bolt.

This book is for anyone who has thought about writing a book.  Much has changed in the publishing landscape in the last ten years.  Bolt faces those changes head on. Drafting your book is only a small part of the equation.  He explains how to self-publish and market your book, and which tasks should be farmed out.

Amy Lynn Andrews’ ebook, Tell Your Time and the back story behind it got me thinking.

I think, in general, our culture doesn’t value books, so they don’t budget for them and they don’t spend money on them.  People don’t mind dropping a lot of money going out to eat.  There are so many restaurants in Warsaw, yet only one bookstore.  It just isn’t part of the culture, it’s  part of the mindset. I’d love to see that change.  I think 50 page ebooks that only cost $3 could be a gateway drug.

In the same way that blogs and podcasts are gaining popularity, I think buying ebooks could become more popular.  Although, reading The Revenge of Analog is challenging that as well.

We have trained ourselves to be scanners.  To scroll through lots of information with lots of pictures.  To not read deeply, to not think deeply, to not write at all.  All this can change.  Here I am on my soapbox instead of doing a book review.

Just in case you’re wondering. . . Yes, I am in the beginning stages of writing an ebook.  Stay tuned.



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The Golem and the Jinni

If you read this blog much you know I’m always on the prowl for wholesome, brilliantly written novels.  This isn’t one that I’d recommend to my nieces and nephews.  Non-humans sleeping with humans made me feel uncomfortable.

That being said, there’s a lot to recommend for adult readers.  It is brilliantly written.  New York in the 1890s is fascinating. I’m intrigued by the Jewish community, the challenge of coming to the New World, even the myths and legends that are interwoven into the story.

That’s it for this month.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for February’s Quick Lit.



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Go Ahead, Rouse that Mama Bear


I saw it in my sister this week.  She had to go up against the experts on behalf of her child.  It wasn’t a fight she was looking for or one that she relished.  She got all “Mama Bear” because her daughter needed an advocate.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

I’ve had to play the role occasionally myself.  It’s the needs of kids that propels moms into the unnatural state of fighter.

Before we had kids, my husband thought he would be up with the babies at night because I slept like a rock.  He had to drag me out of bed during a five point something earthquake aftershock because I slept through it.

But, after the birth of our first baby, the slight sound of an infant in distress was enough to wake me.  Of course, we all sleep on alert when listening for an alarm clock for fear of sleeping through it.  But, I believe it goes deeper than that.  That miraculous maternal instinct.  That sleeping mama bear that is roused in time of need.

We watched the movie, Miracles from Heaven last weekend.  I was so intrigued by the story I had to read the book to find out what was true and what was Hollywood.  (Read my book review here.)  Christy Wilson Beam, the mother in the story had to go up against the doctors on behalf of her daughter when they weren’t taking her symptoms seriously.  She referred to herself as Mama Bear when she had to fight to get the medical help her daughter needed.

What is it that turns mild-mannered mamas into to fighters?  I guess if you look at nature, it’s anything that threatens the well-being of the off-spring.  In our lives today, sometimes it’s the experts. They may know their field, but mamas know their kids.


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My Favorite Best of 16 Book Lists

Last year, I loved doing a round up of the best of lists because it gave me such great picks for my To Be Read list.  So, I’m doing another round up this year, purely for selfish reasons.

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Interestingly, Deep Work by Cal Newport hit three of these lists.  I’d have to agree. It is one of the best books of the year.

Read my full review here.

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I’m a big fan of Michael Hyatt’s work.  From this list I’ve read Deep Work and The Four Disciplines.  I’d really like to read Mindset and Revenge of the Analog, especially in light of the bookstore.  Sleep Smarter doesn’t seem as intriguing, since sleep usually isn’t a problem for me.

Michael Hyatt’s Top 5 Business Books from 2016

The Best Business Books I Read in 2016

Crystal Paine’s Top Eight Books of 2016 

I loved Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Only read parts of Present over Perfect.   Johnny Tremain and Unbroken have been long time favorites.  Might try Carry On, Mr Bowditch, Good News for Weary WomenThe Happiness Dare and Presence.


My Favorite Books of 2016

Unbroken is one of my all-time favorites.  Boys in the Boat was one my top books of the year, as well.  The others look good.  I’ll have to check them out. I did not like The Girl on the Train.  I found the lives of the characters to be too depressing.

Sarah is a middle school English teacher, so I take her recommendations for YA books seriously. I read The One and Only Ivan on her recommendation. I haven’t read any of these, but I will be checking them out.

My Favorite Young Adult Books of 2016


Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy

I liked Everyone Brave is Forgiven, didn’t love Before We Visit the Goddess, am about to start One in  Million Boy.   The Course of Love sounds intriguing and I’d like to give it a whirl.

Deep Work is a great book.  I haven’t read Untangled–not sure if I will since my only daughter is 22.  You’ll Grow Out of It sounds interesting.

800ceoread’s book awards shortlist for 2016

The only book I’ve read on this list is Deep Work.  It’s interesting to me that this book hit three best of 16 lists.  Quite the endorsement. Their number one book of the year is about gender equality. I probably won’t read that one.

Victoria of SnailPaceTransformations

I haven’t read any of the fiction on Victoria’s list, so I definitely need to make note of those.  On her non-fiction list, I’ve only read Hands Free Mama (which was a good read).

This is making me think I need to get a little more organized about my reading list.  Many books that I’ve been interested in don’t get read because the library doesn’t have them.

Once again, loads of great books and the reason I love the “best of” lists so much.

Elena at Beautiful Hope has a massive list (36 titles!)  Scads of great ones.  I think maybe Elena has the most similar reading tastes to me of anyone I’ve bumped into in the blogosphere.

Many books on her list I’ve already read and enjoyed. Some I will add to my list.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is one of her top picks.  Qureshi gave the commencement address at my daughter’s graduation in December.  I wanted to read it before then, but it didn’t happen.  I will get to it, eventually.

Happy Reading!





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What I’m Reading, January 2017



This is the view from my kitchen window, looking at the barn Pete and the kids built.  The picture was taken in January three years ago.  Now the barn is red.  At the moment, we have no snow.

This wasn’t a good month for reading.  But, my daughter graduated from college, we had a good family Christmas and the bookstore’s doing better than last year. So, who can complain?

Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

What I’m Reading, plus What I Gave for Christmas:

   Buy now from Amazon

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Newport first builds the case for the importance of deep work, then he expounds on practical steps to accomplish it.  Simply put, what is needed is focus and discipline.

I agree with Newport’s main premise:  we are doing worse work because we’re distracted.  I see it all the time in the low quality of books that are published and the huge vacuums that exist in many genres for high quality work.

Newport is a college professor.  Publishing in scholarly journals is the deep work he needs to accomplish.  I think the principles apply to all writers, and probably all knowledge workers in general.

I think the most profound books are ones that are simple common sense:  ones that people agree with and see the wisdom of, but didn’t take the time to articulate themselves.  It seems so simple.  So obvious.  And, yet, it wasn’t done before.  I would put The Purpose Driven Life in that category as well as Deep Work.

It is the path of least resistance to fritter away our time.  When we are careful about every working minute and rest well away from work, we accomplish so much more.

I was intrigued by the end of the day ritual.  For sure, it is the lingering worries of work that sap your peace and relaxation when you’re away from work.  Learning to wrap things up at the end of the day and be at peace with where you’re leaving them is critical for resting well.

His chapter, “Quit Social Media” is a little misleading, because he doesn’t really advocate that you quit social media.  Some would argue that if you want to write, you have to leverage social media.  But, the irony is that social media is keeping you from doing your best work, because you become a consumer instead of a producer.

The instant gratification is a problem, as well.  The instant distraction, the problem of never being bored.  If you’re never bored, then you never think.  You don’t create to fill the hole of that boredom.  You don’t wonder, daydream, imagine.  That vacuum is filled.

What I Gave For Christmas

  Buy now from Amazon


I gave The Dangerous Book for Boys to my nephew, a fifth grader.  I’ve been in love with this book for several years, just waiting for one of my nephews to get old enough to appreciate it.

It looks like it’s an old-fashioned book, but it’s a fairly recent publication.  It’s got a little bit of everything that boys love.  Stories of extra-ordinary people.  Morse code, stars, tying knots, fishing, building a tree house and famous battles.  All the things that interest males and curiosities that are usually thrown over for video games, computers and all things screens. Little snippets and pieces of scads of interesting things.

  Buy now from Amazon

I gave a niece and a nephew Press Here.  Every page has instructions to the child that result in changes on the next page. I love it because it taps into the imagination of a little person.  Just like Harold and the Purple Crayon.  Just like Frindle.

  Buy now from Amazon

I gave some of my nieces (I have a lot of nieces) the Inspire Bible. It’s a New Living Translation Bible with artwork in the margins to color.  Some pages have blank margins to create your own artwork.

I gave the paperback edition, but there’s several different cover options as well as a large print edition.

What are you reading this month? 



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