Sunday, April 23, 2017

March Reads

Happy Spring!  It feels good to be jumping back into a somewhat more regular reading routine at home.  Here's a look at the books I read in March.  

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed by Betsy Childs Howard; Everyone is waiting for something.  This book was such a good reminder of that simple fact.  It never dawned on me as a young woman that I would find myself waiting on things for the rest of my life. In this book Howard writes about 5 different types of waiting: Waiting on a Bridegroom, Waiting for a Child, Waiting for Healing, Waiting for a Home, and Waiting for a Prodigal. I'm positive that all of the chapters (including those that didn't specifically apply to me) will help me to understand the waiting that my friends endure.  Right now I can think of at least one friend that is waiting on each of those five different things.  Howard gave much hope throughout this book and truly made my heart long for the day when Jesus returns.  Seasons of Waiting is probably my favorite book that I read in March.  I believe this was the author's first book but I sure hope she writes another!

Woman Code by Alissa Vitti: I actually picked this book up from our library last year and read the first chapter or so.  I was a little intimidated so I didn't end up finishing this book.  Fast forward a year and I was ready to try again.  I actually purchased the book this time so I could mark it up and keep it on hand for reference.  This time around I have really enjoyed it!  The whole premise behind the book is really syncing different aspects of your life around your monthly cycle.  I think cycle syncing is a really great idea.  I"m sure we would all agree that there are certain weeks of the month that just don't work for tackling big projects.  I've never given it this much thought or went so far as to schedule my month around it.  I'm 2/3 of the way through the book and look forward to implementing many of the author's suggestions and ideas.  I'll have to let you know in a few months what I think about the implementation.

Quick Tips For Busy Families by Jay Payleitner: This book was packed with over 100 different strategies or tips for raising great kids.  Most of the strategies are only about a page long so this is an excellent book to pick up if you simply hate long chapters.  Overall I thought most of the ideas were pretty good but they weren't really earth shattering.  Many of the strategies were things my own parents did for me as a child or things that we already incorporate into the Emerson family.  I did enjoy discussing some of the ideas with my husband to see what his thoughts were on the each suggestion.  Please note I did receive a review copy of this book from Bethany House.  All opinions are my own.

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins: Usually I don't pay that much attention to book covers but this one drove me crazy!  It looks so outdated.  It seriously looks like it is from the early '90s but it has a 2010 publication date.  That aside I thought the author had a lot of great ideas throughout the book.  Such a reminder to teach to my children's strengths and weaknesses.  Most of all I was reminded to make homeschooling work for my family.  The tag line of this book is "How your one of a kind family can make homeschooling and real life work" which really does a good job of summing up the book.  We are a young family (our oldest is only 7) and I can already see how our family tweaks different things to make homeschooling work best for our family.  I'd recommend this to any homeschooling family.

Read Aloud to Kids:
God's Promises by Sally Michael: We love, loved reading this book aloud in February and March as part of our Devotional Time.  It goes through a list of the different promises of God.  I think it is so important to teach young children specifically what God is like and the great promises that He has made for believers.  The chapters are the perfect length for our family.  At the end of each chapter there are related activities that you can do together, discussion questions, and a Memory Verse.  The chapters are poignant and use wonderful, age appropriate illustrations.  I'm looking forward to reading two more books from this series aloud to the children this summer.  We have also read God's Names by the same author.

Currently Reading:

The Life Giving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson

When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch 

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

Reading Aloud to Children:

The Bible in the Wall by H.J.D. 

Jessica's Journey by Hesbra Stretton and John Rhys-Davies

What books did your read last month?  Do you have any recommendations to share?  

Monday, April 10, 2017

This Week's Goals & Recap

Happy Monday friends!  I hope you all had such a fantastic week last week.  I made it safely home with both kids from our road trip to Arkansas!  Hooray.  I'll have lots more to share about it later in the week.  It was such a good trip.  Don't you just love that sweet photo above that I snapped the minute we returned home?  

When I first sat down last night to think about my goals I had all sorts of lofty ambitions.  Then the Holy Spirit worked on my heart.  This isn't the week to deep clean my basement.  Of all the weeks of the year this is the week to celebrate and remember.  Christ has Risen from the grave!  This week I hope to take extra time to walk slowly through the days leading up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection both with my children and on my own.  I hope you take some time out to do the same.  

Goals from Two Weeks Ago:
Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1.  Go on a real (out of the house) date with Brandon.  He won't be traveling with us this trip so I want to make sure that we spend some good time together before I head out.  I'll be gone a total of 6 days.  I'm super thankful we were able to squeeze in a date night before I headed out of town.  Our date didn't turn out quite as I had planned but we ended up having a blast.  Let's just say Groupons and Putt Putt golf sometimes don't mix.  
2.  Road Trip to Arkansas!  This will be my first time traveling this far alone with two children so I will also be spending a lot of time prepping for this trip.  I've made the trip to Arkansas about three times a year for the past 8 years but I'm still a teensy bit anxious about making the long drive alone.    It was awesome!  
3.  Finish reading God's Promises by Sally Michael.  (Have I mentioned how much I simply adore this series?  It's so good.)  We will be starting another book from this series after Easter.  

4.  Spend at least an hour working on organizing the basement.  I realized that I really have a long way to go.  There are still quite a few boxes which aren't unpacked.  
5.  Sew a birthday gift which also includes a trip to the fabric store.  (I gave away the large majority of my fabric stash before we moved.)  I ended up making a hard shell sunglasses case.  It was a little tricky but I"m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I would like to make one for myself sometime before the end of summer.  
6.  Leave for our trip with a clean house.  This is an area that I usually struggle with but I simply DO NOT want to come home to a messy home.  It's super awesome coming home to a clean house.  Kudos to my super awesome husband who picked up after himself and washed all the dishes before I came home!  
7.  Vacuum out the inside of our van and wash the outside.  It's amazing just how much fun a seven year old boy can have at the car wash! 

8.  Continue working through Priscilla Shirer's Discerning the Voice of God.  (I also need to do a little catch up work this week.)  I worked  on it but I had a hard time staying caught up while on my trip.  I'm hoping to really grow in the area of making devotions a priority while away from home.  

Ministry & Friendships:
9.  Catch up with a friend on the telephone.
10.  Spend time visiting with my friend Laura who lives in Nashville.  We'll be spending two nights at her house on our way to Arkansas.  It was fantastic.  My friend Laura and her husband are just the best hosts!  I felt right at home and my kids had so much fun!  

This Week's Goals

Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  Celebrate the Risen Savior with my immediate and extended family!
2)  Carve out extra time to spend discussing the glorious wonders of the Gospel with the children each day.  We are using the "Resurrection Eggs" this week alongside reading selected passages from the Gospels.
3)  Take both children to the dentist.
4)  Attend gymnastics and soccer practice.  Eli had an absolute BLAST at his first soccer game last week!

5)  Intentionally involve my children more in cooking.

6)  Finish reading one book this week.
7)  Spend extra time in prayer and catching up on my Bible Study.
8)  Workout three times.  I walked a ton on our trip but I'm ready to get back to a regular workout routine.

Ministry & Friendships:
9)  Attend a dinner party at a friend's house.
10)  Continue to intentionally invite others to our Easter Eggstravaganza outreach at our church.  We will of course also be attending and I just can't wait!

What plans do you have for this week?  Happy Easter!