September Reading

September was a light reading month for me. Sometimes my attention drifts and centers around crafting or cooking, rather than reading in all my spare moments, but this month it was more centered around rest. So a little laziness and giving ourselves a little mental break is necessary sometimes too!

Here’s what I did read:

  • Code Name Verity Elizabeth Wein, centers around two young women fighting for the Allied cause in WWII. When Verity is captured by the Gestapo, the novel details her imprisonment and rescue as details of the friendship are revealed. It’s one you won’t want to put down, and I would recommend for both teen and adult readers.
  • Storm Donna Jo Napoli, gave a different perspective on the Noah’s Ark story that Christians everywhere are so familiar with. I stumbled on it while checking out some Noah’s Ark books for the girls (I like to check out companion books to what the kids are studying in Sunday School and regular school). Originally I thought Sarah might like it, but in my opinion it’s better suited for an older teen reader. A stowaway on the ark who battles the storm, with the loss and seclusion that comes with her situation, looks in on Noah and his family and their purpose.
  • All the Bright Places Jennifer Nevin, was a tough read about a teen battling bi-polar disease. I struggled because I recognized early on the problem, and while I know some cases of bi-polar are not so obvious, I just could not believe that any of the adult characters could not have intervened. I hope and pray that my eyes are open for my kids and their friends.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them JK Rowling, I listened to the audio version, which was really interesting, but I would think the illustrated version would also be truly awesome.
  • Rump Liesl Shurtliff, was a school commute audiobook, and it was good but didn’t capture our hearts enough to finish before it was returned. I asked Sarah if she wanted me to check it out again so we could finish and she wasn’t interested.

2 other wonderful read-y things to note:
My sister’s Christmas gift to me arrived and I am blown away. It’s the quarterly book box from The Strand. So many goodies including Sing, Unburied, Sing which I am starting tonight! If you have someone on your Christmas list that loves books, this would be an excellent choice.

Emily St. John Mandel is doing a meet and greet in November due to our Library’s hosting a group read of her novel (and a favorite of mine!) Station Eleven. I am so excited to attend and report back. (And hopefully get my sister’s copy of Station Eleven signed- she loves her as much as I do.

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Listening

On the drop-off commute with the 11 year old:

Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk

Quick car trips with both girls:

Circle Round podcast

Wow in the World podcast (old favorite episodes only, they are taking a break to create new content)

Long walks & “me” time:

The Child, Fiona Barton

(books on loan from my local library, listening through the free Overdrive app)

Do you have any suggestions for me?

❤️

Garden Inspiration

After another disappointing year with the vegetables in the raised beds, I have decided to plant flowers and make a little cutting garden of sorts. (Literally the best producer I had was the volunteer tomato plant by the raspberry bushes.) Here’s my inspiration:

IMG_4295.JPGEchinacea, sunflower tower, climbing roses, and lavender

❤️

 

Sabbath

This past spring, our family attended a church retreat and the retreat theme was “allowing God to break in.” We came home motivated and strengthened, and Sabbath was one of the biggest things I felt my family was really missing.
Saturday was the fun day, packed full of friend time, ballgames, and travel. Sunday was the “catch up” day. Grocery, laundry, hustle/bustle of leftover things. Leaving church early to tackle the to do list.
So I made myself another list. What does Sabbath mean to me; what is my goal? What are the barriers to my goal and steps I can take to meet my goal?
My answers were spiritual rest, time to meditate on God’s word, and more time to ponder gratitude. The barriers were easy to pinpoint. Obviously leaving church early isn’t helping me to learn more of the Bible. And weekly grocery planning and prep, and house cleaning is necessary so it took the priority when I procrastinated until Sunday. But what could I do differently?
Tidy during the week, a little laundry every day and doing the grocery planning on Saturday was an obvious fix. I could not only attend worship more regularly, I could take sermon notes and truly stay engaged. As a family we talk about the sermon and worship songs, especially since our kids are young but too old for the children’s worship class.
We also decided to be intentional about how we spend our time on Sunday with less electronics. And when we are thankful or the spirit moves us to pray for others, we act on it and send a thank you note or text.

Does it happen every week? No. Does it have to be Sunday? No. Sometimes it’s an hour on Tuesday night, or a Saturday afternoon. Transition times are especially hard (like the start of the school year).
But ultimately, the effort is worth it for my family. Is Sabbath a spiritual practice you enjoy? How do you make it a priority?

❤️

In the Kitchen: Pizza Rolls

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Thaw Frozen Yeast Rolls in a muffin tin lined with aluminum cupcake liners.
After they thaw and double in size, (5-8 hours… they work while you work!) pinch apart and stuff with some mozzarella cheese and your favorite pizza toppings.
Drizzle with melted butter and season (I sprinkled with parmesean and garlic powder.)
Bake according to the yeast roll instructions (mine was 375 degrees for 14 minutes)
Dip into your favorite marinara sauce for the weeknight dinner win!

❤️

August Reading

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling was both familiar and different. Reading in a screenplay format was interesting (Shakespeare in high school and a bit of theatre in college is all I can remember ever reading) but the characters were so familiar that I had to make myself set it down or else I would devour it in hours. (Fantastic Beasts came up on my library hold list this week and after that I am tempted to reread the series again. I caught part of the movie version of Deathly Hallows this past weekend and that only stoked the flame.)

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon was my favorite so far of the Outlander series. I’ve needed to pace myself with this series but it is an excellent escape. This one follows Jamie and Claire over to the Caribbean and America, and sets me up to be really anxious of what might happen to Claire’s daughter in the next book. Can’t wait.

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist was an audiobook I had on loan that I didn’t get the chance to finish. It was engaging, but not enough to win out the backlog of podcasts. Maybe another time, because family balance is certainly something relevant for me.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is even better than her first two thrillers. After reading The Woman in Cabin 10, I preordered this one and it did not disappoint. She kept me on the hook because HELLO, FIND A SOMEONE YOU TRUST TO WATCH THE BABY!!! The baby has very little to do with the plot, but it certainly keeps you invested in the scene.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta was racy and truly laugh-out-loud funny. Mrs. Fletcher is embarrassing and such an awkwardly funny read. Highly recommend if you liked The Election, or ironic, situational comedy in general. (I confess, I only saw the movie version of Election, but now I want to read that one as well as his others).

I listened to both The Nightbird by Alice Hoffman and Moo by Sharon Creech with my 11 year old daughter on the school commute this month too. Nightbird was an instant favorite. She asked to listen to the end of the book one night before bed because she couldn’t wait until the morning. Moo grew on us, and she loved sympathizing with Moo for the “unreasonable” actions of her parents (her and her brother were volunteered by their parents to help at a local farm). Both excellent for 11 year old girls who like a strong female heroine.

Tell me, what should I read next?

-S