Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Reading -- Including a Couple of Children's Books

I feel like I read quite a bit this month, and most of it was very interesting.  Again, I've put them in order of how much I enjoyed each book with the top being my favorite.
  • Devotions, Advice, and Renewal for when Motherhood Feels too Hard by Kelly Crawford.  This book contains thirty-one devotions which are absolutely wonderful and applicable to us mothers when life is hard, as the title says.  I cannot recommend this book enough!
  • Liturgy of the Ordinary:  Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by  Tish Harrison Warren.  The author makes wonderful connections between things we consider sacred and things we consider ordinary, showing that really they are all sacred.  There is so much great material in this book that I plan to reread it soon.  
  • Judah's Wife by Angela Hunt.  I didn't know much about the Macabees or the time between the Old and New Testaments, so I enjoyed reading this book and learning some things.  My full review is here.  
  • An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor.  After I started this book, I realized that I had already read it!  But I didn't have anything else to read, so I continued, and it was good enough for a second read.  Dr. Barry Lafferty is straight out of medical school and gets hired as an assistant to Dr. O'Reilly who is a curmudgeon with a soft heart.  As the younger doctor works with the older one, he learns many things about practicing medicine that he did not learn in books or at school.  Warning, there is some bad language.
  • Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar.  This book tells the story of the woman in the Bible who had the flow of blood, whom Jesus healed on the way to heal Jairus' daughter.  It was an interesting read, but there was tons of backstory, and Elianna didn't get her illness until 3/4 of the way through the book.  
  • The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson.  When Charles' father discovers an amulet that makes the finder cruel and heartless, Charles has to figure out how to help him.  The flint heart then gets passed from person to person until Charles with help from his fairy friends and his sister figures out how to get rid of it.  I read this book to my children as our read aloud book, and they enjoyed it.  And I enjoyed the lesson they learned about having a hard heart.  :)
I thought I would also add some children's books that we pick up at the library that my readers may be interested in:
  • Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade by Trinka Hakes Noble.  During 1918 as World War I ends and the Spanish Flu epidemic sweeps across the world, Rettie has her own concern:  will there be the Ragamuffin Parade?  The parade gives poor children the chance to earn a few pennies, and Rettie desperately wants them so that her family can have a better Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed reading this book to my children because they need to know that not everyone lives the way we do and how privileged we are.  The pictures are lovely and descriptive.  
  • Sergeant Reckless:  The True Story of the Little Horse who Became a Hero by Patricia McCormick.  A group of Marines need help getting missiles to the top of a hill during the Korean War, and they recruit a little horse to help.  Everyone is amazed at her bravery in battle, and we loved this book.
What have you read recently?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Book Review: Judah's Wife by Angela Hunt

Seeking safety and security from an abusive father, Leah agrees to marry Judah Maccabeus.  She does grow to love him, but her desire for peace wars with his need to fulfill God's will for him to fight the enemies of the Jews.  Although she tries to change him, to keep him home with her, eventually she learns that a man can make war on his enemies without destroying his family at the same time.  She also learns to embrace the plan that God has for her and for her husband.

I enjoyed this book about the Jewish people during the "Silent Years," the time in-between the Old and New Testaments.  I did not know anything about the Maccabees except for the myth of the oil not burning out for eight days which the author deals with in the afterword.  As the the love bloomed between Judah and Leah despite their differences, their reliance on each other and their God also grew.  The book seemed to be well-researched, and I do recommend it.

I want to thank Bethany House Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.   

Monday, February 12, 2018

Daniel's Tenth Birthday

Today is Daniel's tenth birthday.

He loves his sisters although sometimes he forgets they are girls and gets a little rough.  :)

He works hard at his schoolwork. 

He loves taking pictures.

He took this beautiful one.

Daniel has an adventurous spirit that seems to be normal for boys, so we encourage it as much as we can!

I can't wait to see how the Lord continues to work in Daniel's life!

Friday, February 9, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Hunting Trip

Okay, I didn't go on the hunting trip.  John took Sarah Beth hunting last weekend, and they got three deer.  Sarah Beth killed one of them, and she was so proud of herself and rightly so.  Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a stocked freezer!  Beyond the hunting and food acquiring, I'm really happy that they had the weekend to spend together.  My children have a wonderful father who loves to spend time with them -- and take them on the adventures that I would rather not.  :)

Other than that, I feel like we had a cold, rainy week.  It didn't actually rain every day, nor was it gloomy every day.  But that's the overall impression I have of this week.  We did not have Classical Conversations this week, so I enjoyed the extra day home.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • celebrating Hannah's birthday on Sunday
  • Sarah Beth's good friend who took her up to a museum in Houston this week
  • hearing my children play hymns on the piano.  I know I've mentioned that before, but I love it!
  • taking a day off school to run some needed errands, like getting the kids' hair cut
We have a quiet Saturday planned and then I start a new Bible study Sunday evening.  We're going to study Gloria Furman's Missional Motherhood, and I'm so excited!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday's Quote: Does God Care About our Boring Days?

An ordinary school day.

Life is usually made up of many ordinary moments with just a few exciting ones sprinkled throughout it.  As people, maybe more so as Americans, we think life should be full of exciting moments with a few boring parts interspersed in it.  Our spiritual lives, especially, we think should be full of mountain top experiences and maybe a few valleys, and that's it.  Otherwise, we're not doing something correctly, right?  What if we're wrong?  As Tish Harrison Warren says in Liturgy of the Ordinary:  Sacred Practices in Everyday Life:
We tend to want a Christian life with the dull bits cut out. 
Yet God made us to spend our days in rest, work, and play, taking care of our bodies, our families, our neighborhoods, our homes.  What if all these boring parts matter to God?  What if days passed in ways that feel small and insignificant to us are weighty with meaning and part of the abundant life that God has for us? 
When I think about my children's growth, usually it's indiscernible:  they grow just a teeny bit every day, and it's immeasurable.  But when I look at their growth over several years, well, there's a huge difference from where they were to where they are now.  I think our spiritual growth is like that.

Honestly, I have to admit that I appreciate a relatively boring life.  I appreciate a husband who comes home from work every evening, and I appreciate my days going on as they have in the past.  But maybe that's because I tend to think that "exciting" is bad:  a broken leg, a car crash, even a gallon of milk spilled all over the kitchen.  But in that "boring-ness," there is tremendous potential for growth -- if we're patient.

What do you think about this?  Do you enjoy a boring life?  Or do you crave excitement?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hannah's Second Birthday

Today is Hannah's second birthday!

It's been fun to watch her grow and develop this year.

Her siblings are enthralled with her, too.

She loves getting into things and making messes.  :)

She loves to play outside!

Learning to walk -- very important!

A ready smile.

She loves to look at books and listening to them, too. 

We look forward to watching Hannah continue to grow and develop as the Lord wills!

Friday, February 2, 2018

What I Enjoyed this Week: A Weekend Away at the Summit

Going with a friend is so much better than going alone.

Last weekend, I went to the Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit for the fourth year and had a wonderful time.  Every year I learn something new and come home with things to work on in order to become a better wife and mother.  I also come home refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the school year.  My sweet husband came home early from work on Friday so that he could take care of our children while I was gone.

Here are a few other things that I enjoyed this week:
  • how well my husband did with the children.  He even took them to the Lego store in Houston for Rachel's birthday and the next day to the Houston zoo.  They had a great time while I was gone.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should go out of town more often.  ;)
  • being able to breathe through my nose.  When you're all stopped up, you realize how much you take such a simple thing for granted.
  • Baskin Robbin's ice cream.  Remember scoops are only $1.50 on the 31st!  We take advantage of this deal every time it's available.
  • reminders of things I learned last year at the Summit like not putting my loved ones in the cage of expectations.
  • the warmer weather.  It certainly hasn't been hot, but it has been freezing, either, so I'll take it!
  • The Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison.  What a wonderful book about how we can find the sacred in the ordinary and vice versa.  
  • being home.  As much as I enjoyed my weekend away, I'm so glad to be home!
We have another quiet weekend planned which I really appreciate because I know they're going to get very busy once soccer starts.  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?