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Two Books I’m Loving Right Now

With the start of the new year, my book list of things I’d love to read is growing. As I sort and choose the different books to see what will make the list, there are two that I’m reading at the moment and really enjoying.

The Well-Versed Family

the well versed family

Scripture memory is something that I believe is not just important for me personally, but I especially desire to instill a love for God’s word in our children. Confession – this is an area that I’ve let slide a bit as the boys learn verses at church and the girls work on their own devotion time. From my own experience and life though, I understand how pivotal different passages have been to me and have created many Bible verse printables for our children in the past.

This year the boys and I have been reviewing many of the verses we’ve learned and together the kids and I are working on new passages together. The Well-Versed Family (aff link) has been a gentle and wonderful reminder of WHY we are doing it and is also full of resources, tips, ideas, and key verses to learn together as a family.

A funny sidenote: there was one section of the book where the author recommended Seeds Family Worship (aff link) and while reading an excerpt of a mom who adores Seeds, I was nodding my head along and thinking “This is EXACTLY how I would say it too!” – turned the page…and realized it was a quote from one of my blog posts! HA!

Teaching From Rest

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

I started reading Teaching from Rest the end of last week and immediately ended up purchasing the companion journal and audio downloads to use as well. So far I am really enjoying Sarah’s writing and the book overall. We all have in our heads what the ‘ideal’ homeschool day looks like, and trust me when I say – mine often is FAR, far, far from that ideal. This has been a gentle reminder of the surrender that is needed from me – and the rest and peace that are available.


These are the first two books on my list for the 2016 year (I’ll share my full list soon), but I am so glad that I started the year off with these two and my focus is moving in a better direction overall. Both were exactly what I needed at this point in our school year as well. (I love it when that happens.)

What are you reading and enjoying right now!

10 Best Books I Read in 2015

This year it has been fun sharing the books that I’ve been reading each month – and checking them off my list. There were 20 books in the original pile, but as the year progressed a few others managed to sneak their way into the pile as well. Somehow I always forget that authors release books throughout the year, not at the end of the year. My list of 20 books managed to creep up to 26 books.

With just a few days till the end of the year, only one book remains to be read, and that one will be moved to the pile for next year instead. While part of me is irritated with myself for not getting every single one finished, I keep reminding myself that there were a few books added over the course of the year and in the process there were several books that I absolutely loved!

The last few days I’ve been creating a new stack of books to read in the upcoming year, which had me looking back at the past year. Of the 80+ books that I read, there were ten that truly stood out to me, either as a mom, wife, or just for myself:

1. Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson – This was one of the first books I read this year and such a great start to the year! I truly cannot recommend it highly enough. Sally’s writing is so personable and is full of truth that speaks right to your heart. If you are looking for a book to kick start your year and help you understand what it means to live life meaningful – grab it now!

Cleaning House

2. Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve Month Experiment by Kay Wyma – As moms we understand how difficult it can be to find the balance between helping our kids and doing too much for them and lead our kids down the path of entitlement. From cleaning toilets to cooking meals, there is a lot of humor tied in with practical suggestions on how one mom made sure her kids understand the basics of what responsibility looked like in various forms. Definitely some food for thought and ideas to try with our kids!

Beyond Ordinary

3. Beyond Ordinary by Justin Davis – While our marriage is truly ok, I absolutely loved this book and may have asked my hubby to read it as well with me in the upcoming year. I love the focus of not settling for average, but instead pushing to extraordinary in all areas. The book also flips back and forth between he said/she said, which gives a great perspective from both sides.

glimpses of grace

4. Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman – This may have been one of my most dog-eared books other than Own Your Life this year. Truly loved this book and the gentle and practical reminders on how we can see grace in all areas of our life.

caught up in a story

5. Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson – Sarah touched the English geek in me and tied in a child’s imagination with the rising/falling action in a story, gave some great book recommendations, and gave my hubby and I some fodder for talking about a book series that we’d been holding off letting the kids read (but decided to read a few out loud to them now). Love her insight and her heart in this book!

flash the donkey

6. Flash the Donkey by Rachel Anne Ridge – In June I had the chance  to meet Rachel Anne and the ‘hero’ of the book, Flash, in person. Such an amazing time, even though it was a fast trip! And the book – chocked full of practical life lessons that will speak to your heart and leave an impression in the weeks and months to come. I promise, it’s good! Rachel has a writing style that I absolutely adore and after reading it, I was looking for the deeper meaning in so many of the seemingly ordinary things that happen each day.

motivate your child

7. Motivate Your Child by Scott Turnasky – This is another book that wasn’t on my original list to read, but was added after a friend recommended it to me. It is packed full of practical and hands-on helps – and focusing on internal motivation with kids. Again another book that my hubby has on his nightstand to read again with me so we can learn together and apply to our family.

the best yes

8. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst – If you are one that struggles with boundaries and being a ‘yes girl,’ this is definitely a great book to read. Lysa writes with

writing in the margins

9. Writing in the Margins by Lisa Nichols Hickman – While I’ve taken notes in my Bible over the years, I’ve switched between many different versions and lost quite a few of the notes. This is another book that I’ll be referring to often in the upcoming months and it inspired me to purchase a journaling Bible to use in the months and years to come. There are also some wonderful questions for deeper study at the end of each chapter, making it almost more of a Bible study guide as well.

The giver

10. The Giver series by Lois Lowry – Yes, I know that I’m years behind in reading every single one of the books in this series, but I finally got around to reading them this year since our oldest was reading them. While ‘teen lit’ isn’t typically something I read, it has been more and more as I try to keep up with what the current (or in this case past) books are and the content in them.


What were your top reads from this past year? Any books you would recommend for others to read in the upcoming year?

Only Four Books to Finish Out My Pile!!


Silly me. In September I set some lofty reading goals. On top of that, I joined a BOOK CLUB with a few other homeschool ladies I love. Guess how many pages of that book I read.

A big, fat ZERO.

Yep. I bit off more than I could chew, especially since our high school co-op had two books on deck that are enough to make a person cry: Walden (because living in the woods is really only so exciting) and The Count of Monte Cristo (because who doesn’t love a good 1,200+ page novel). The kids were not a fan of Walden (and I can’t say that I blame them).

Truthfully, I set some big goals at the beginning of the year in my 20 Books to Read in 2015 post. These were lofty ones for me since I’m not a fan of the non-fiction book reading. One here and there is ok, but I’d much rather find something that doesn’t require my brain to process all the time. While I did pick a large chunk of books that appealed to me, there are several new *shiny* books taunting me. Non-fiction ones not in my current pile, but newly released and distracting. While I realize I can read things whenever I want, the part of me that wants to see something through to completion struggles with having an unfinished list. (Apparently my ‘perfect’ word for the year is still having issues). 

I haven’t been taking as much time to sit and read in the afternoons, and honestly I’m feeling it in more ways than not getting books finished. When I don’t have a little down time each day it really makes life feel so much more cluttered and not productive (and not as much gets done). Isn’t it funny how rest makes us more productive, when it seems that the opposite would be true?

Here’s a peek at the books remaining in my pile for the rest of the year (since we’re halfway through November already). While I’m honestly hoping to at least finish my books I had chosen for this year – I’m just not sure. Yes, I likely could read the four books, but realistically, it may not happen (telling it like it is). I’ve been trying to get in more exercise and reading on the treadmill isn’t cutting it, unless I want to spell all forms of disaster and finish out the year with one last trip to the ER. These are the few left to read…

    Believe it or not, I already have a book stack piling up for next year’s reading. So far there are five books I already own, and a multitude of books in my Amazon cart.

    Books Finished the Last Few Months…

  • The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White – another wonderful book by White. I absolutely love the depth of her writing (not just a typical historical fiction book), but real depth of characters and story line. She is one author that I own every single one of her books and will re-read them.
  • The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Kara Powell – quite honestly not one of my favorite formats for a book. It wasn’t one that was a read cover-to-cover, but rather a book full of suggestions for family faith growth. Essentially, one that you really have to sit, process, read a little more. While there are some good suggestions, it’s not very user-friendly in my opinion.
  • The Cure for The Perfect Life by Lipp and Gregory – this is another book I had a difficult time with the format of. Because there were two authors, they switch back and forth (so I would get confused when I had put the book down for a bit), and also the acronyms – trying to get my brain to remember. Let’s just say I do struggle with perfectionism, and there were nuggets I walked away with, but the book isn’t in my ‘to keep’ pile.
  • The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury – I finally finished this one! The format of storytelling in this book is wonderful, but I got a little burned out on Kingsbury after her incredibly long, drawn-out Baxter series. This was a little different in style and offered an interesting look into the main characters in the life of Jesus though.
  • Chasing God by Angie Smith – absolutely loved it. Angie’s writing style is fun and quirky (love how she interjects her train of thought into a chapter). It’s like sitting down and having a conversation with a friend over coffee, but gaining some deep spiritual insight at the same time.
  • The Homegrown Preschooler – if you are just beginning in your homeschool journey, have a preschooler or toddler – do yourself a favor and grab this book. It is so full of helpful information, resources, ideas, and will honestly be a book you will reference constantly. I had the opportunity to meet these ladies at our homeschool convention last June and their booth just pulled you in. They show you how to make learning FUN and hands-on and a part of all that you do.
  • Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve Month Experiment by Kay Wyma – absolutely LOVED this book on breaking entitlement in our children and have been implementing several of the techniques she suggests. The only problem is (if you read it straight through), you’ll want to do it all right away and may overwhelm yourself. Definitely a book to keep around and reference.
  • The Midwife’s Tale by Delia Parr
  • These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer – a Regency book written in the early 1900’s – interesting read
  • Under the Northern Lights by Tracie Peterson (kindle)
  • Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist (kindle)
  • Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson (kindle)
  • The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon (kindle)

Reading With the Kids

These are a few of the books we’ve been reading together the last bit. Since I get just as drawn into the books as the kids do and listen along, I think they count for me as well:

That’s a look at what I’ve been reading (and had on my mind lately). Any books to recommend for the upcoming year that you think I shouldn’t miss? Or have you read any of the above too?

Books to Read in 2015 See my list of 20 Books to Read in 2015 in this post. I am making progress on these non-fiction books, but the fiction is so much fun too! You can see all the books that I’ve read so far this year via my 2015 Reading Pinterest board.

My September 2015 Reading Goals

September reading goals

In my head I didn’t accomplish as much reading during August as I wanted to, but that may have been because I was sidetracked with The Giver series and managed to squeeze in all four of those books. Of all the teen fiction that I’ve read over the last few years, this was one of my favorite series. Needless to say, the other books in my pile were (ahem) pushed to the side and didn’t get the attention they deserved.

So, a few of the books in this month’s pile may look a bit familiar. I do have another book by Jen Hatmaker sitting next to my bed as a ‘treat’ should I actually manage to finish the books I have in my stack. Of course, with my knack for getting distracted, it is highly likely that it may get shoved into the pile and I’ll start reading it anyway.

September Reading Goals

Here’s a peek at my stash for the upcoming month – a few from my post 20 Books to Read in 2015, some fiction fun, and a non-fiction educational-based book too.

Books Finished in August

  • The Bible – somehow I got stuck in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but managed to get through those two and finish up! This took up a LOT of my reading time this past month too. Now I’m looking for a Bible study to work on in the upcoming months since our ladies group will be meeting again soon. 
  • The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son by Lois Lowry – really loved this series. Not something that I would have normally picked up, but Laurianna wanted to read the series so we read them together.
  • From Clutter to Clarity by Nancy Twigg – a look at how clutter isn’t just physical and surrounding us, but internally as well.
  • The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd – another great book by Ladd. Love her writing style.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – read aloud with the kids

SO – what are YOU reading for you this month? And what books do you have to recommend and totally distract me from my pile?

Books to Read in 2015 See my list of 20 Books to Read in 2015 in this post. I am making progress on these non-fiction books, but the fiction is so much fun too! You can see all the books that I’ve read so far this year via my 2015 Reading Pinterest board.

My Reading Pile for August 2015

August 2015 Reading Pile

My reading pile for July was conquered. There’s something rather enjoyable about that, especially since I knocked three books off my non-fiction list. The biggest help for me has been reading them to actually read, underlining what resonates with me, and not pausing to contemplate or feel that I need to fully grasp every morsel of goodness in the book.

While we did have some vacation/travel time, I honestly didn’t get to read more than a few paragraphs while we were gone since we were surrounded by good friends, lots of cornhole playing, and just enjoying the time we had together with them. Reading can wait in that case!

My Reading Goals for August

One of these books I started before, but am determined to finish it this time around. Here’s a peek at my stash for the upcoming month – a few from my post 20 Books to Read in 2015, some fiction fun, and a new non-fiction educational-based book too.

What I Read (and Finished) in July


  • Make it Happen by Lara Casey – really loved this book and the practical tips it offers on getting things done. There are a few sections that I’ve dog-eared to refer back to.
  • Enough: 10 Things We Should Tell Teenage Girls by Kate Conner – another great book that immediately made me purchase the companion book, 10 Things for Teen Girls, for both of my girls to read. It covers the main issues that girls today face, especially in a technology-driven world.
  • Aha: The God Moment That Changes Everything by Kyle Idleman – based on the story of the prodigal son, this talks about the AHA moments that we have in life that redirect our focus back to God. I’ve always enjoyed Idleman’s books.
  • Taken by Dee Henderson – Henderson is a ‘meatier’ writer when it comes to fiction and her more recent books have been even more so. A great read, but not if you are looking for a light read.
  • Circle of Spies by Roseanna White – loved this conclusion to a family spy ring that takes place over several centuries.
  • In Good Company by Jen Turano – these books always make me laugh out loud every single time. Love her books and they have a spot on my shelf for years to come.
  • Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay – after seeing this one at Costco, I downloaded the Kindle version (using all those extra digital credits I’ve been earning!). LOVED it although the topic of breast cancer hit super close to heart. I’m glad I didn’t read this a few months ago, because I’m not sure I could have handled it then! Reay also wrote another book, Dear Mr. Knightley, that is a good read as well.
  • Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn – I picked this up at the library because it was similar to another series by Tasha Alexander that I enjoyed. This one has a bit more content than the other series (not graphic, but not sure how to describe it). The second book is in my pile for August.
  • Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock – bedtime Kindle read.
  • A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter – bedtime Kindle read.
  • finished the last book in the Lemony Snicket series (with the kids)
  • up to 80% of the Bible completed now – almost there!


SO – what are YOU reading for you this month? And what books do you have to recommend and totally distract me from my pile?

Books to Read in 2015See my list of 20 Books to Read in 2015 in this post. I am making progress on these non-fiction books, but the fiction is so much fun too! You can see all the books that I’ve read so far this year via my 2015 Reading Pinterest board.

My Reading Pile for July 2015


Last month didn’t give me quite as much ‘by the pool’ reading as I had hoped, but there were some looooooong travel days courtesy of delayed flights when traveling to Dallas to meet Flash – so reading time did end up happening. All my thoughts of lounging by the pool, enjoying a good read during swim practice, or other quiet reading adventures were fairly non-existent. Sadly, pool time in July isn’t looking so great either! (I do love the fact that our kids are old enough to swim and I can rest – finally!).

That said, July has quite a bit of travel happening (car trips and another trip to Dallas). I have mentioned that reading is my ‘escape’, right? Lately it’s also been my influx of learning via an infusion of non-fiction. Somehow this brain has to get stretched. I may not always agree with everything an author thinks or says, but I’m trying so hard to push myself and pull out the things that I do want to remember. (Does that even make sense?)

And those precious nighttime minutes of reading with my Kindle. I love them. Sadly I often fall asleep all to quickly with my Kindle in hand, especially when I’m in the middle of a good book!

Books in My July Reading Pile

Here’s a peek at my book stash for the upcoming month. I know we’re a few days in and I’ve already finished two of the fiction books – loved them!

What I Read (and Finished) in June

  • Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge – did I mention that I got to meet Rachel Anne and her cute little donkey? Such an amazing time. And the book – chocked full of practical life lessons that will speak to your heart and leave an impression in the weeks and months to come. I promise, it’s good!
  • Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
  • Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky – so good that I ordered the workbook to go along with it and my hubby will be reading it as well. It’s a book with lots of underlining in it, PRACTICAL advice, and I’ve been making notecards for myself because this aligns so much with my way of thinking/parenting.
  • Common Sense by Glenn Beck – some was ‘read’ via audiobook while traveling alone, and the rest I pulled out and read cornered up in a coffee shop.
  • No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig (Kindle)
  • Finding Mercy by Michal Landon Jr. (Kindle)
  • Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson (Kindle)
  • books 8 through 11 in the Lemony Snicket audiobook series with the kids.
  • The Bible – at 55% so far

SO – what are YOU reading for you this month? And what books do you have to recommend and totally distract me from my pile?

Books to Read in 2015See my list of 20 Books to Read in 2015 in this post. I am making progress on these non-fiction books, but the fiction is so much fun too! You can see all the books that I’ve read so far this year via my 2015 Reading Pinterest board.

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