Books I ALWAYS recommend

I get asked a lot for book recommendations, and it’s probably one of my favorite questions to answer and give out! So I thought I would tell y’all a list of the ones I always recommend. Sometimes I give based on what I’ve recently read and loved, but for the most part, I start with these few books…

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers– This is my all time favorite book in the entire world. I read it when I was a senior in high school and again when Titus was maybe a year old. I don’t love reading books twice because I have a long list of books I want to read. so I don’t want to spend time reading something I’ve already read. This book is my exception to that. This book so well written, a beautiful period piece and love story.

I am a firm believer that everything Francine writes is gold! I loved the Mark of The Lion series (3 books) and Marta’s Legacy (a 2 book series) and really anything else. You can’t go wrong.

Love Does by Bob Goff– I am almost certain that no one tells a story quite like Bob. He’s funny, adventurous and he used to set up office on Tom Sawyer island at DisneyLand. He’s a man that I truly believe is teaching generations to come what love looks like. In Love Does he writes about his journey to faith, his family, his career, and so much more. I cannot say enough good things about this book! He has a new book coming out in April and I CANNOT WAIT!!

Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis– Now her name is Katie Davis Majors and I feel like I mention this book in almost every blog, but to me this was a game changer. I love her story, I love her heart and I love that it was shared in this way! I just finished her latest book Daring to Hope and it was great too. But honestly I don’t know that anything she writes will ever compare in my heart to her first book.

Switching gears a bit…

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves– This book is captivating! I read it all in one day and it was just GOOD! It’s got some romance but not R rated or anything, and it’s a sweet love story. I think it would be the best beach read, or great for traveling.

I’ve read just about everything Tracey Garvis Graves has put out, and they are all good. Some are definitely a little saucier, but all great reads.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty– I read this book while on a vacation with my cousin. It is so funny because we both read it, and we both LOVED it, but we also saw the ending very differently. I couldn’t fathom the idea of losing my memory, but that last thing she remembers is that she was pregnant at the gym happily married, and the next thing she knows she has a 10 year old and in the middle of a divorce. The book walks through how much our lives can change in ten years and that alone was phenomenal!

I haven’t read everything Liane has written and while I LOVED Big Little Lies, she has another one that I just couldn’t get into, so I set it down.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling- I would be a lying liar if i didn’t add these books to this list! I didn’t read Potter until I was about 28, and I don’t even have the words to express! The magical world that J.K Rowling created is beautiful. Her books are much more than the magic within the pages but speak of love, hope, discrimination, light and dark….all of it! It’s just pure magic. ALSO if you are not an avid reader but want to read the books, these are the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard.

I think I’ll end there. I do have some more, but I don’t want to bore you. Let me know what you love and if you’d like some kid suggestions I can do that too!!

My little reader. He is so much like me. Loves to read and devours series! I love that we have this shared interest!

Happy New Year 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I cannot wait to see what 2018 and the Lord have in store for me, my family and here on my little corner of the internet! I have some big goals and a road map in place to get me there, now I need to be brave enough to take the necessary steps.

2017 was a fun year in our house:

Jesse and I went skydiving for my birthday

We went to Disneyland for spring break and got to visit our California family

Tent Camped and the quickly upgraded our tent to “Poppy” Pop-Up Camper

I went to RISE with my Cousin Melissa, and saw my hero Rachel Hollis

Got a matching tattoo with Melissa

Jesse and I ran away to Disney World ALONE

Zoe got Sister Locs and all my hair woes are now GONE

My sister Michelle visited before moving to Germany

DISNEY WORLD as a family, where we basically moved there

Visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with the kids!

Loved all things Summer: swimming, Schlitterbahn, TBARMcamps, beach trip, and lake trip

I started blogging more

We hung out with friends, and really dove into our community

We dated more and communicated better

Built furniture and rearranged our house

Wore matching Christmas Jammies

And rested like it was our J-O-B

So here are some of my resolutions, goals, oh I don’t know what to call them but here is what I am striving for in 2018:

Do my 5 minute journal EVERYDAY

Drink more water than coffee

Read my Bible daily

Write more

Be Present with my fam = less time scrolling on my phone

Slow to anger and Quick to Love

To work out because I am ABLE to move my body and because I enjoy it

I find that having something to narrow your focus, to hone in on improving yourself, you need a very specific idea. No fluff around it or extra stuff to get caught up in. This year I picked a word that I could focus on. A single word that will help me remember who I want to be and where I want 2018 so lead me. My word for the year is COURAGE. I want to stop worrying about what others think of me and that takes Courage. I want to speak to women and share what the Lord has done and that takes Courage. I want to love my kids and husband with all that I am even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, and for me, you guessed it takes Courage. So this year that’s what I’ll be focusing on being brave, and courageous!

What about you? What are your goals? Do you have a word? Or a focus? I want to hear it! Let’s keep each other accountable this year!

The Date Night That Ended in Tears

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Last week Titus and I met up with a few of his classmates and his teacher to watch the movie WONDER. Their class read the book earlier this year, and they wanted to see the movie all together. Obviously I was game for that, I read Wonder a few years ago and loved the storyIt was an opportunity to have a nice night out for me and my sweet boy.

Titus is our middle child. He was our baby for a long time and when Zoe came home his role as the “baby” was shifted. He and Zoe compete for attention quite a bit, they are both entertainers, both super funny and both very competitive. All that to say, he doesn’t get a lot of the one on one time or attention he craves. So this was a great opportunity for us.

A Theatre Pic is a must…Or did you even go?!

WONDER is about a little boy with Craniofacial that starts public school for the first time in 5th grade. His family is fiercely protective about his feelings, but they know that this is the right next step for their family. Auggie (the main character) knows that yes, he looks different, and yes, others notice and often stare. But as a family, they just hope that no one will be ugly to him. His family’s  life revolves all around him, and at one point in the older sister in the movie says, “My family is the earth and our life revolves around the Sun (son).” That line hit me right in the gut.

 

A few weeks ago I sat with Titus and Zeke at lunch, surrounded by other friends and parents Titus (my little performer) made a joke, “No one even sees Zeke, or me anymore. They all only see Zoe.” I deflected and joked with him, smiling nervously, while crying inside, “Did he really feel this way?! CRAP!” His little joke replayed in my mind as soon as I heard the sister say that. You see I know the truth, our life was flipped upside down the moment Zoe landed in Texas. Not in a terrible way, but our family shifted. We all started learning a new language, we have seen a whole slew of doctors and specialists, we have had fits and learning curves, and our lives have revolved around a lot of these things.

 

All the way home I choked back tears while we talked about the movie what he liked best, how it was different from the book, who our favorite character was, and so on. When we pulled up in our driveway I looked at my second born and confronted all those feelings. “Titus, do you feel like our life revolves around Zoe? Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you know how much I love you and how special you are to me?” It was a talk that I hated having to have. I cried so much and so did he. We made a deal, “Titus next time you are feeling invisible or really need my attention, put your hands on each side of my face and tell me you need me. I need your help! Ok?!” We hugged and I kissed his sweet face. One of my biggest goals in raising these three kids is that they see me recognize my faults, and see me ask for their forgiveness. If I teach them nothing else I want them to know how to humble themselves, ask for forgiveness and press on. Also I want to teach them to Love God and Love Others but you get me right?!

 

So why tell you this? Because it’s hard. Mothering three very different kids is tough work. And I guess I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. This is tough, but it matters! 

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These 3…I hope they know how hard I am trying!

July Book Reviews

Ya’ll. Summer is coming to an end quickly. I see my ‘To Read’ list growing, but my time actually reading dwindling, while July wasn’t a super busy month for my family, I did choose to watch more TV than I like to admit. But with that said here are my reviews of what I did read!

Fierce Love: One woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage Shauna Shanks    This story is probably based on my greatest fear. Her husband tells her he doesn’t love her and is ready to end their marriage. She does the opposite of what I would’ve done which is she seeks the Lord and pursues hope and perseverance. I won’t spoil the ending but it’s a beautiful story. She speaks about using lip gloss as a physical reminder to speak kind and pretty words. She speaks of the Ebenezer Stone and how the Lord was with her each step. It’s a great read!

 

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians book 3) Kevin Kwan                                                The end of a great series is my favorite. This was a great summer read. The whole series was light, funny and just plain delightful! I loved the ending and felt like it was all wrapped up in a beautiful bow. I still think of the characters like they are real people, and I feel like that means the character development is on point!

 

Worlds Collide (Land of Stories book 6) Christopher Colfer                                                     Ok, this the last book in The Land of Stories series that the boys and I have listened to for the past few summers, and we could not wait for its release! Mr Colfer did not disappoint with this one! After five books, he wrapped this fractured fairy tale series up in such a magical way. These characters are so fun, and we listen to it read by the author himself. Hearing his performance of each character made it so much more enjoyable. My favorite character is Mother Goose. She is a bit of a lush in this series, and a lot of her jokes when over the boys’ heads, but they made me giggle.

 

The Lipstick Gospel Stephanie Wilson                                                                                               I recently got a new devotional and journal (The Lipstick Gospel Devotional and Prayer Journal) written by this same author. In the devotional it referred back to her book The Lipstick Gospel and her story about finding her faith. I decided to read it so I would have a better understanding of her and her story. It was a quick read and I loved how honest she was with her struggles to commit to Jesus and how she leaned into Him and sought peace. Such a beautiful story. And by the way I am also loving the devotion and journal prompts!

 

Today Will be Different Maria Semple                                                                                               I really thought that this was going to be a super fast read. One that I could sit by the pool with and read it really quickly. I’ve read another book by this author before and she’s so light and funny but, this book flipped back in time really quickly without much warning so I found myself a little confused at times and having to re-read the last page or so to make sure I understood where we were or where she was taking me. This was a fun story and I think the quirkiness of the protagonist was super sweet but the ending lost me. I think it just fell a little flat while I was waiting for some big reveal it was just sort of eh.

What are you reading?

What do you want to read?

When do you find time to read?

What’s your favorite thing to read?

 

Started Of Mess and Moxie yesterday and teared up in the intro…good sign?!

My TO READ List:

Of Mess and Moxie Jen Hatmaker

Steal Away Home Aaron Ivey and Matt Carter

Shoe Dog (yes still on my list)

Sophie Kinsella’s and Jane Green’s new books just arrived too!

June Book Reviews

I love summer for so many reasons: no school, no schedule, the sun, the pool, my kids, and all the books. In the summer I feel like I have the freedom and time to read, and I think the lack of new TV shows has a big part in that. Well that and I don’t have to fear over sleeping or missing my alarm in the morning. So with summer here I have been reading as much as I can!  Here’s what I read in June with a quick review:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan-  I actually saw this recommended by a friend on Instagram so I added it to my Amazon cart. The reviews are all great but sold it as “The next Shopaholic series” and while I didn’t think it lived up to THAT standard ( I mean Sophie Kinsella is HILARIOUS and I have never laughed out loud like I did while reading her books)  I did really enjoy it. It showed a totally different culture and full of footnotes to help the reader understand and get some insider knowledge. It was a great pool/ camping read.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan- Obviously I didn’t hate the first one if I followed it up with the second of the three books. The story line is so good and full of characters that you feel like you’ve really come to know. I really liked the character development that happened in this book and it really set the bar for book 3!

The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell- Jamie Ivey (Host of the popular podcast Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey) is doing a summer book club and this was her first pick. The first thing about this book is its BEAUTIFUL. The cover is lovely with turquoise and gold hints all over it. The book is her story of building community with her neighbors really encouraging us to not be indoors or backyard people but to venture out front and really get to know the people that live next door.  It also has a lot of recipes and really good tips for how to become a ‘Front Yard Person’.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas- Oh man, this book was good. Real, raw and real heavy. It tells the story of a young african american girl who witnesses her friend murdered by the police. It is a great real-life and timely picture into the hate that we see all around us. There is some strong language so heads up but man, this was well written and beautifully executed. This story has stuck with me and has made me think so much.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder- Now this one was promoted to me like this: “I couldn’t put it down, the last time I read a book this good was Harry Potter.” So obviously I had to have it, and I had to read it immediately. Well, it wasn’t THAT good! I mean, it is a good coming of age story and I loved the main characters heart, but I also wanted to shake her and help her see the error of her ways. It ended kind of abruptly so I have been waiting to see if there’s going to be a follow up.

Love Lives Here by Maria Goff- I have slowly read this book. Wanting to take in and sit with each story Maria told. Maria, wife to Bob Goff, author of Love Does, followed her husband’s path of just laying out how they live and love and how its one in the same. I loved that she talked about how he’s adventurous, she’s not and how they made that work. How when her kids told her they were running away, she helped them pack a bag. She writes of love in such a simple way and its just obvious that that is who they are. Both of their stories are gold and full of wisdom!

My To Read list looks like this….

Today will be different by Maria Semple    Shoe Dog by Phil Knight                            Life After by Katie Ganshert   A Fierce Love by Shauna Shanks                         Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken    Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

To read and read. What’s on your shelf?!