Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 Book Reading Review

Well, for anyone who has been tracking my reading progress the last few years, it is time again to assess and compile my completed reading list! It is always so fun to review all that I have managed to soak up through literature. So let's get on with the drill.

Here is my reading goals for 2015:

Non-Fiction 6 to 12

Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators – David Chilton
Political book (The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo)
Rushdoony Book (Sovereignty)
R.C. Sproul book (The Holiness of God)
Pierre Viret book 
The Hospitality Commands
Gary North book (Tithing and the Church)
Pregnancy book (Real Food for Mother and Baby - Nina Planck)
Sophie Scholl book (Sophoe Scholl and the White Rose)

Fiction – 6 to 12

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The War for Mansoul – Bunyan
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Return of the King – Tolkien
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
The Book Thief – Markis Zusak

As per usual, not all the books on my list were read, you win some and you lose some. I see it more of an aim to keep me focused. I read much more than those listed above, but it is still nice to "cross off" books I actually intended to read. The Chilton book I had every intention of reading, but when talking to my father in law, his brief synopsis left me not really caring to pour my precious time into it. I probably won't try to read it. The Hospitality commands I do want to read, it just got lost in the shuffle. If I borrow it from a friend that's motivation enough to return it. As for The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I find myself less enchanted with it, as I saw it more of a watered down morally questionable version of Pride and Prejudice, *sigh*. It's fun to think of a modern day P&P, and I did enjoy watching the youtube vlog series, but too many cringe moments and too many times the Lord's name was taken in vain, that I decided reading the book was not worth my time, nor worth overlooking such a HUGE deal as my Holy God's name being used in such sinful way. And so I let it go. I did check out The Book Thief from the library, and I did enjoy the movie, but for some reason the style of writing just did not draw me in, and after a couple chapters I set it down and returned it. I am deciding with fiction if it doesn't capture my attention and draw my imagination in, then it's not really worth my precious reading time to plug along and try to "get into it". It's just not worth it to me, I have an extremely long list of books I want to read, and many more on my bookshelves begging for my hands to open and jump into. There, those are my exc- err, reasons for why I didn't finish my list again.

My long standing rating system as follows:

scale of 1-5 (Subject to change upon my own whim and will).

1) being, complete waste. Why did I finish it?
2) being, minimally thought provoking/entertaining. Won’t read it again.
3) being, borderline useful, mild usefulness in instruction about the faults in it/mildly entertaining; Enough good to be challenged, grow a little in thought. Might read it again.
4) being, a really great book, useful to instruct, thought provoking/good entertainment, very challenging, growth as a reader, way more good than bad, would recommend. Worth reading again.
5) being, found enjoyable, challenging, useful in many ways, would highly recommend with no holding back, over all EXCELLENT book. Need to read again!

A 3 1/2 star is not as harsh as a 3, but not quite deserving of a 4 (a really great book), but a good book none the less.

And so THE LIST. The List of what did get read. Broken up into three sections, Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Children's. I haven't even kept my good reads up to date on all the children's books we have read together (2nd Samuel and I). Eeek! So much to do.


  1. The Fruit of Her Hands - Nancy Wilson 4 Stars
  2. Feminine Appeal - Carolyn Mahaney 4 Stars
  3. God's Mandate for Biblical Education - Robert E. Fugate 5 Stars
  4. Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History - Richard M. Hannula 5 Stars
  5. Healthy 4 Life - Weston A. Price Foundation 4 Stars
  6. The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  7. Leading Little Ones to God - Marian Schoolland 4 Stars
  8. The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo 4 Stars 
  9. Tithing and the Church - Gary North 4 Stars
  10. Pierre Viret: Angel of the Reformation R.A. Sheets 5 Stars
  11. Potty Training in Less Than A Day - Grace Goldenbloom 
  12. Toilet Training in Less Than A Day - Nathan Azrin
  13. Toilet Learning: The Picture Book... - Alison Mack
  14. Toilet Training - Vicki Lansky
  15. Peacemaker - Ken Sande 4 Stars
  16. Sovereignty - R.J. Rushdoony 5 Stars
  17. Real Food for Mother and Baby - Nina Planck 4 Stars
  18. Effective Prayer - Charles H. Spurgeon 5 Stars
  19. Praying Successfully - Charles H. Spurgeon 5 Stars
  20. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose - Jud Newborn  4 Stars
  21. The St. Andrews Seven - Stuart Piggin 5 Stars

  1. The Return of the King -  J.R.R. Tolkien 5 Stars
  2. The Giver -  Lois Lowry 4 Stars
  3. Gathering Blue - "" 3 Stars
  4. Son - "" 3 Stars
  5. Messenger - "" 3 Stars
  6. The People of Sparks - Jeanne DuPrau 4 Stars
  7. The Prophet of Yonwood - "" 2 Stars
  8. The Diamond of Darkhold - "" 4 Stars
  9. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley  2 1/2 Stars
  10. The War for Mansoul - Ethel Barrett (Based on Bunyan's Story) 5 Stars
  11. The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  12. Persuasion - Jane Austen  3 1/2 Stars

  1. Three Best-Loved Tales: My First Counting Book; The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse; Home for a Bunny - Garth Williams  3 Stars
  2. The Boy Who Listened: The Story of Samuel - Carine Mckenzie 5 Stars
  3. The Happy Man and His Dump Truck - Golden Books 3 Stars
  4. The House That Jack Built - Golden Books 3 Stars
  5. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny - Beatrix Potter 3 Stars
  6. A Bargain For Frances - Russell Hoban 3 Stars
  7. Bread is For Eating - David Gershator  3 Stars
  8. Little Lamb Bakes a Cake  - Michaela Muntean 3 Stars
  9. Sergeant Murphy's Busy Day - Richard Scarry  3 Stars
  10. The Firefighter's Busy Day - Richard Scarry 3 Stars
  11. A Fox Lives Here - Pearson School 3 Stars
  12. Bugs and Butterflies - DandiMackall 3 Stars
  13. Five True Dog Stories - Margaret Davidson 4 Stars
  14. Dangerous Animals - Melvin Berger  3 Stars
  15. The Little Red Hen - Justine Ciovacco 4 Stars
  16. Goodnight Sleep Tight Little Bunnies - Dawn Apperley 3 Stars
  17. My Book of Birds - Tibor Gergely  3 Stars
  18. On The Farm - Richard Scarry 4 Stars
  19. Arthur's Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts - Pippa Goodhart 2 Stars
  20. The Boats on the River - Marjorie Flack  3 Stars
  21. Farmer John's Tractor - Sally Sutton 4 Stars
  22. Building With Dad - Carol Nevius 3 Stars
  23. The Old Red Tractor - Andreas Dierssen 1 Star
  24. 101 Dalmations - Walt Disney Company 3 Stars
  25. Two Happy Dalmations: Pongo and Perdy - "" 3 Stars
  26. Lady and the Tramp - "" 3 Stars
  27. The Rescuers Down Under - "" 1 Star
  28. 102 Dalmations - "" 1 Star
  29. Pooh Goes Visiting - A.A. Milne 4 Stars
  30. Eyore Has A Birthday - A.A. Milne 4 Stars
  31. The Picture Story of Wyatt Earp - Felix Sutton 3 1/2 Stars
  32. Sheep in a Jeep - Nancy Shaw - 4 Stars
  33. Sheep Take a Hike -  "" 4 Stars
  34. Sheep Blast Off - "" 3 Stars
  35. The Tree House that Jack Built - Bonnie Verburg 3 Stars
  36. Dan Yaccarino's Mother Goose Book - Dan Yaccarino 2 Stars
  37. Holly Hobbie's Nursery Rhymes - Holly Hobbie 4 Stars
  38. Jame's Heriot's Treasury for Children - James Heriot 5 Stars
  39. Sheep on a Ship - Nancy Shaw 4 Stars
  40. Sheep Go To Sleep - "" 4 Stars
  41. Sheep in a Shop - "" 4 Stars
  42. Sheep Out to Eat - "" 4 Stars
  43. The Tuttle Twins and the Creature From Jekyll Island - Connor Boyack 5 Stars
  44. The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil - "" 4 1/2 Stars
  45. Caps For Sale - Esphyr Slobodkina 3 1/2 Stars
Well, I surpassed my non-fiction goal of reading at least 12, and met the goal with fiction. That is always a happy moment to reflect upon my reading progress. As expected, my time for reading has fallen by the way side after the first weeks of David's life. It's like this influx of time to read during recovery, then after that barely any time at all. It will get better in the coming months, I know. It's already getting better with him going to bed around the same time every night. Did you know you could put your baby and toddler to bed at the same time each night?! Yes, it's totally possible. Also, you can make them nap at the same time. It just takes work, patience, and more patience. Did I mention patience? Yes, definitely patience. Also a lot of determination. But such is mom life. And I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! Oh, and pop on over to my Goodreads Profile to see my scattered thoughts of the aforementioned books.
A few currently reading books is the long standing Institutes of Biblical Law by Rushdoony, as I am still in the ladies bible study from two years ago. We've surpassed the half way mark, woohoo! I am determined to read Calvin's Institutes one day, but I don't think that will be this year. I am skimming over Month by Month Gardening in Texas, mostly just about herbs, veggies, and trees, skipping the landscaping, flowers, etc. It's a bit overwhelming, but I want to get a handle on this whole gardening thing and be able to produce a thriving garden to help feed my family delicious and nutritious food. I have started The Baby Whisperer but part of me doubts I will finish, I got what I needed out of it, but I really do like it a lot. Also The Cure is in the Cupboard a book about the many uses of oregano. And can't forget Nourishment from the Word by Ken Gentry, a book our church is reading together. The boys and I are continuing to read from Come Ye Children, although since David has been born, I've had to change up our morning devotion routine, since he is not able to sit as long as his big brother yet. We're working on it, so in the meantime the bible story book is hit and miss. Hopefully we can finish it this year.

I am feeling hopefully and ambitious this year in terms of reading. I want to continue to branch out in my reading endeavors, to span the breadth of knowledge or learning I can attain. I want it to be practical and useful to my life, but also stretch me and cause me to go outside my comfort zone. So here's to a new year and starting to compile a new reading goals list!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Has it really been 6 months since I last posted? Oops, I guess I failed at completing my blogging once a month goal for 2015. Well, I had no idea how busy two little people could make one momma. But I didn't blog consistently before that, so I guess I'm out of excuses! As I sit here waiting for my Creamy Pumpkin Tea to steep, I reflect on what this year has meant.  It has been a very blessed year indeed. Some highlights include trips of various kinds, but the best of all was the birth of my little David Livingstone Allison! An early birthday present to me, he was born August 16, 2015, and my birthday is August 31. Really I couldn't have asked for anything more well timed than his arrival, the experience was easier than my first labor, and I had way more energy as I welcomed this tiny little human being into the world for the first time.

There is something incredible about laboring and going through the hardest physical event in my life and then those sweet blissful moments immediately after as you look into those tiny little eyes. There is no way to describe it, words cannot contain the love that wells up in this momma's heart. But there certainly are physiological explanations of the rush of the "love" hormone as your baby is born. Love indeed! Oh sweet baby love. It really is a thing. With 2015, I am braver. I am less afraid.  I am proud of the fact that I had another home birth, My boys are the most beautiful gifts God has ever given us, and to have that beauty magnified and intensified by a natural birth, in my own home, with the most amazing birth team (Paula Davis, Leah Larson, Dawn Housos, and Lisa Rutledge!!), is something I never knew I had the strength to go through and finish, It is absolutely worth it.

2015 has been both empowering through the healing and strength of Jesus Christ, and humbling knowing how weak and feeble I am apart from that source of strength. I know who I am, and I am His. I know that this life He has given me is both beautiful and worth every hard decision I have made. I would not be who I am without what He has had me walk through. And so I smile. So I laugh. 2nd Samuel has such an infectious laugh and I am letting go more and more to have that hearty laughter erupt from deep within me. To let the joy overflow, to enjoy the moments, to enjoy the days, to enjoy what God has given me. Truly I am so undeserving of two such precious little gifts. But being a mom of two is harder, and there have been days when I would cry, get stressed out, get overwhelmed at how tedious and time consuming everything would take, and let Satan steal my joy. And I realized, I really don't have it as together as I thought. Why would I be crazy enough to miss the special moments with my two little boys, yes they grow so fast, but the hours go SO. SLOW. God has humbled me, I cannot do everything I thought I ought. Instead I had to apologize to some and say, "I just can't do that right now, I don't have time." Because my time should be filled with a laughing baby who coos with delight just when I smile and say "Hi!", and with moments of "Another book?!" from an energetic boy who just wants, "Momma lap!", and brings the books to pile on, to snuggle longer, and teach him how things work. Yes, slowing down, organizing, reassessing, and being honest have made the days so abundant. This Christian life, living in accordance with God's word, it doesn't always come easy, but it comes with the help of the Holy Spirit of God sanctifying, molding, shaping, humbling, and making me more like Christ. And how can I be purified unless the fire rages? It brings out the impurity I never even knew was there, that sin lurking, that joy stealing.

And so I have a 4 1/2 month old who is cutting two teeth, What?! And a two year old who loves helping momma, who loves sharing his favorite toys with his brother, and who loves all things tractors, backhoes, and even books. But TWO. How can he be TWO already?! I know exactly where the time is going. It is going into teaching, loving, nurturing, and shaping the eternal soul of not just one, but now two, little boys. My time is in serving. My life is serving King Jesus, my family, His people, the lost and broken, and doing so with joy, pure joy.

I have loved 2015 and all that the Lord has taught me. I love this life He has given me. I have loved weathering the changes, when once upon a time I was terrified of change and dreaded it and feared it. Praise God for every single good gift He has bestowed upon this weak and needy child of His. I thought I knew what "I need Thee every hour" meant with one baby, but oh boy, I know it more dearly with two.

Left is January at a dear friend's wedding, and Right is September. WOW how much he has grown in less than a year. (:

My prayer for 2016 is that I might know God better, and better make Him known. To glorify Him and to enjoy Him. And through that, be the wife, mother, friend, and person who exemplifies my Savior day by day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Babies, Babies, Babies!

Well, considering I have this huge protruding belly carrying a tiny little human (who feels more the size of a baby elephant when moving, let's be real), what else is on my mind a lot than babies?  As I've been counting down the weeks, it's soon to be counting down the days.  Yesterday I pulled out my meticulously organized baby boy clothes from last time and they were just so tiny compared to my huge chunky monkey of a toddler in his 2T clothes. It got real. Really real.  Taking those clothes out, looking them over, deciding which should be his "first" outfit was exhilarating! It also made the nesting bug bite again. I've got the various rooms and cabinets organized how I want them, but after the reality hitting me that this little boy would be here soon made me want to get some more done. I've got a nice freezer stash, I've washed sheets and had my handy man set up the new cosleeper, so I decided some deep cleaning ought to fit the bill.

So this morning after our relaxed and lovely routine (about to be derailed by the baby train) of packing daddy's lunch, making breakfast, eating together, reading the bible and singing, I packed 2nd Samuel's new to him cat in the cat back pack and off he went to grandma's house to play for the half day. And so began the task of deep cleaning my kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and cleaning in general. Special request made by Samuel was to have the fridge cleaned was even completed. It's such a satisfying feeling to work and finish what you start out doing.  2nd Samuel came home, it was nap time, and then I get a text from my midwife asking if she can come to the home visit early, meaning no nap for me.

All of a sudden pregnancy wear and tear hit me like a ton of bricks. Everything hurt, everything ached, I was exhausted, pregnant bodies can't lean and clean and rub and scrub in weird positions like non-pregnant bodies.  But the show must go on, so we had a wonderful visit and I found out the baby had moved half way to where he needs to be (he's halfway posterior?), progress! And then sheer exhaustion again, fussy toddler, zero motivation or energy.  2nd Samuel has definitely gotten immensely clingy these last weeks of pregnancy, and being away from mommy half the day made for tears over nothing and needing mommy close.  Ah well, then dinner.  Who wants to cook dinner anyway? Not this lady. But then I think of my hard working husband, how hungry he'll be.  Then I think of real food, how delicious it is (as opposed to a PB&J, am I right?). Then I lean on God's strength when I am weak, and muster up all the motivation I can, because even though my tank is running on empty, I am still capable of cooking dinner, whereas in a few weeks I'll be recovering from the miracle of natural child birth (not so capable), so I get up and cook a yummy meal I've been thinking about for 2 weeks now.  And the raw foods. Has anyone else seen Food Matters, the documentary? Raw is important. Some nights cooking food is as good as it gets.  But I feel so much better eating salads, and my man loves his salads. So out comes my sheer gratitude to the friend who dropped off some trader joes ready made salad bags, throw in a few farmers market veggies, and viola, delicious raw salad. But, then I see the green beans, yummy locally grown green beans, the stuff that bursts with flavor from being picked only a few days ago. Yup, throw 'em in some bacon grease and you have a winner! Meanwhile all this food motivation is dampened by a toddler who cries because he dropped green beans and I asked him to pick them up.  A toddler who cried because the overwhelming task of cleaning up toys and books before dinner. We were definitely on the same emotional wave-length tonight, sheer exhaustion on all fronts, emotional and physical. And instead of letting my emotions rule me, I cry out to the Holy Spirit to give me patience and teach my child the same. And you know what? He did. Oh how gracious our Lord is in our weakest moments. Together we cleaned up those toys, encouraging him in the midst of his not wanting to do those things, in the midst of my not wanting to do those things, working together, overcoming the flesh together, and learning to discipline ourselves, even when it's not easy. But the serious parenting moment came when I told my precious son that I expected him to not fuss or cry at the dinner table, that we would have a pleasant and cheerful dinner together (daddy was working late). And you know what? We did. It was cheerful. What is cuter than a 20 month old boy who is "mmming" as he eats the food you concocted? (:

Then came the zero motivation to go take my evening walk. Ugh, Houston humidity is not conducive to getting out the door, let me tell you. But I feel better when I walk. So I think of this baby, I think of all these little things, eating well, preparing the house, doing small physical things like walking, stretches, etc., which are all a part of getting ready for labor and beyond. So I do it. You know what, it was not as humid as it was yesterday! The first few minutes tears well up in my eyes and all I want to do is go lie down on the couch, but then I see my son pushing that stroller and his chubby legs pumping as fast as he can go, his smile of sheer delight, and I can't help but smile, and thank the Lord for the joy and encouragement He has placed before me.  I have my ladies Skype bible study to attend, but my phone won't connect me to the call. I try and get on, the dog goes crazy, the toddler starts crying, and I am just needing to go inside to get on the computer... not good. Samuel is home, he takes the boy, disciplines the dog, and I go inside to a messy table, tiny full pregnant bladder and sigh. Clean the table, use the toilet, get on skype. More fussy toddler, but daddy cares for him. I was able to connect with some precious like-minded saints of Jesus Christ tonight despite all the set backs, all the exhaustion, and all the roadblocks.

And this was just today!!! These last couple weeks have had days like today. Zero energy or motivation, or both, to get the daily things done. But I know it will be worth it to save all those freezer meals for the changes a 2nd child will bring.  I know the pregnancy aches that make sleep and comfort elusive will be exchanged for a tiny newborn crying at all hours and nursing at all hours keeping me from sleep. Nobody said being pregnant was glamorous, nobody said it was easy.  But what it is is an unspeakable joy and privilege to nurture and grow a tiny human inside your body! That the Creator and God of the universe chose me to be a mother, to give me a child, and to give me the knowledge, compassion, and love for this little on yet unborn, that is something truly amazing. Some days may be hard, but knowing the sacrifices are for a helpless little baby make it more than worth it, it is humbling.

And then the sheer horror of hearing and reading about Planned Parenthood murdering tiny babies and literally selling their body parts?! Unfathomable. Wicked. It is a tragic horrifying reality no matter what, but one that hits me right in the deepest heart of me, for I carry a child inside my womb, a real human being, a life, an eternal soul of immense value for he is made in the image of God... and I can't wrap my head around those who literally do not care about that kind of life.  On top of that, instead of throwing a life away, some sick and depraved people are literally keeping body parts for a profit. How grotesque can one get?  I am reminded of a few verses in light of this darkness:

"That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us." Eccl 1:9-10

"For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood." Proverbs 1:16

"Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths." Isaiah 59:7

Wicked people have always done wicked things, this is not new, but it is still unspeakably evil.  This is just a repackaged medically sanitized way of shedding innocent blood in the name of "women's rights", what about the human rights of the unborn? Oh how my soul grieves for those children who never see the light of God's creation due to the choices of their mother, one who is supposed to cherish and nurture them, even when it is hard, who instead choose death and destruction.  When you have no standard for morality, all things go.  God's word is the standard for morality, no human can ever authoritatively make up a morality.

And so, in my honesty of the evening, I do not pretend that pregnancy is easy, for the sorrows and pains of this life are a result of sin and the fall of man, but children are a blessing.  As I listened to a sermon earlier while cleaning by Joe Morecraft, he addresses this very point, yes there is a curse, but children are not the curse, that is the blessing in the midst of it all. I have hard days, days where I cry and tell my husband I am just ready to meet this little guy and have pregnancy finished.  But in the midst of it all, I know in the ordinary moments of day to day life, I can rest, trust, lean, and depend upon my God to sustain me, to keep His promises, to find joy in His redemption, and know He will give me the strength I need for another moment. In motherhood I have found the words "I need Thee every hour" to be so sweet and so true. Sometimes it is a moment by moment thing. The joys outweigh the hard moments, and the joyful moments far outnumber the hard moments. With the Holy Spirit of God living inside me, I know that the tears may last for the night, but joy always comes. I want to model that to my sons, that even when life is not easy, it is good being a child of God.

And also, God's good gifts help too, like chocolate. Yes, chocolate helps those long hard days. (;

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Honoring Fathers

Yes, it is late, and yes I am still going to share a few thoughts about "Father's Day".  As a first thought, I am thankful that for the third year in a row, I am married to a wonderful man who is a godly father. Three years counting the first father's day our son was in the womb!-I think that is an important distinction to make, as our culture generally makes comments about "soon to be a mommy/daddy/parent" when expecting the first little one, as if the unborn child doesn't make you a mom and dad right now!  Your unborn child is just as much a child as children outside the womb. Location doesn't suddenly make you a "mom" or a "child".

With that being said, I praise God for my husband and the gentle and loving man he is toward our son and our unborn son.  There is nothing like it in this world to hear 2nd Samuel excitedly say "Daddy!" and for 1st Samuel to scoop him up in his arms and whisper "I love you".  But it is not just those moments, but the moments he changes diapers, puts him to bed at night, plays with him, feeds him, holds him, hugs him, reads books to him, reads the bible to him, prays with him, including him in household chores and projects, letting him "drive" the truck to toss out the trash in the dumpster, and yes, even lovingly correcting his disobedient behaviors.  It is in all those every day ordinary moments that show his love and affection for our son.  When he runs a fever from teething and daddy cradles him in his arms all night long just to make sure he is breathing and to give him sleep, even though daddy doesn't sleep well, being so concerned for his welfare. Those are what makes him such a gentle and loving daddy.  But the taking the time to train him up in the fear of the Lord, to have family devotions every night, to pray for his son, that is what makes him a godly daddy.  Even more than that, living out the fruits of the Spirit, loving our son in his helplessness, being patient at a young boy who is curious and wants to be just like daddy, finding the joy in having his son around, having an attitude of peace (not yelling or getting angry, or fighting with mommy), showing kindness toward him in including him in important daddy things (building, fixing, showing him how), goodness by the grace of God and Christ in him, and of course the gentleness I have mentioned before.  It is displaying Christ in his words and actions, having routines of daily bible study, singing praises, and praying to our Father in heaven, these are things that I am so grateful to see in my son's daddy.  I think the peace and gentleness are what I marvel at most, being so different than what I have known.  To have a household of Christ's peace, to not worry or cringe at harsh words, this is a joy unspeakable for me.  It is easy to honor a father such as my beloved Samuel.

And on top of that, I am grateful to Samuel's own father, who he is so like in many ways.  To have my son's grandfather to be a godly man that imitates Christ in his daily ordinary life, to see the way that love for Christ overflows into his love for his son and grandson, the tender care he shows to one so little, is such a blessing to a mother's heart.  Out of the few people he names, grandpa is one of them, "Dada" is the clear distinction from "Daddy". 2nd Samuel points to pictures excitedly and says "dada!", and when he sees bikes, he says "dada" because he knows grandpa has taken him on bike rides. It is easy to honor a father such as my father in law.

But what about those hard to honor?  This is something that has been a great struggle for me.  I find comfort in these verses:

Psalm 68:4-6 " Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely;"

Psalm 27:10 "When my father and my mother forsake me,Then the LORD will take care of me."

It does not matter whether we have good, bad, or absent fathers, what matters is what scripture teaches us and promises we can cling to.  God's word shows what good father's look like.

Colossians 3:24 "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it."

Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

These are only a few examples, but how many treasures of wisdom does God's word have to say on the topic of fathers!  God revealing Himself as a father is very telling. What I am trying to convey is that father's are worth honoring.  All fathers.  Even if your situation seems impossible, even if you have no relationship with your father, even if you don't know your father, the role and calling of father is honorable.  All men who beget children may not be honorable, but the role of father is honorable.  We need God's word to teach men how to become honorable fathers, and this is only done by the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts and lives of men who love Christ and His word, seeking to apply it humbly and faithfully to their lives.  Men who are not afraid to admit their sins, faults, and shortcomings, but to fall upon the mercy of God time and again, to believe in Christ and to trust that He really does make us new creatures, the old man having passed away.  Being a godly man doesn't mean you do everything right 100% of the time, it means relying upon Christ 100%, striving to be like Christ, to repent unto Christ.

I know God is sovereign and places each one of us in the families that he does, with the father's that he chose.  I am grateful for the good things my own father did do right, as well as the hard situations I have gone through.  Through the good and bad, God used and continues to use these things to sanctify, to humble me, and to make me more like Christ.  This doesn't mean everything is perfect, or pretty, or is how I want it to be, but it means I can trust in a God who loves me enough to test me, try me, to search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me, and to lead me in the way everlasting.

And so today, I am not only grateful to my husband and the wonderful daddy he is and grows to be, but I am infinitely more grateful for my heavenly Father, who never fails me, never forsakes me, and is perfect and heals my heart of the hurts of the past. Oh how I love my Lord and Savior more with each passing day!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Books Read Thus Far

An on going list of books I have completed this year thus far. The * is for books actually on my reading list.

The Return of the King – Tolkien *
The Giver – Lois Lowry *
Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry
Son - Lois Lowry
Messenger - Lois Lowry
The People of Sparks - Jeanne DuPrau
The Prophet of Yonwood - Jeanne DuPrau
The Diamond of Darkhold - Jeanne DuPrau
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley *
The War for Mansoul – Bunyan *

The Fruit of Her Hands - Nancy Wilson
Feminine Appeal - Caroline Mahaney
God's Mandate for Biblical Education - Robert Fugate
Trial and Triumph - Richard Hannula
Healthy 4 Life - Weston A. Price Foundation
The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul *
Leading Little Ones to God - Marian Schoolland
The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo *
Tithing and the Church - Gary North *
Pierre Viret The Angel of the Reformation - R.A. Sheats *

Three Best Loved Tales - Garth Willims
Samuel: The Boy Who Listened - Carine McKenzie
The Happy Man and His Dump Truck - Golden Books
The House That Jack Built - Golden Books
The Tale of Benjamin BUnny - Beatrix Potter
A Bargain for Francis - Russel Hoban
Bread is For Eating - David and Phyllis Gershator
Bugs and Butterflies - Dandi Mackall
The Firefighter's Busy Day - Richard Scarry
Little Lamb Bakes a Cake - Michaela Muntean
Sergeant Murphy's Busy Day - Richard Scarry
A Fox Lives Here - Pearson School
Five True Dog Stories - Margaret Davidson
The Little Red Hen - Justine Ciovacco
True or False: Dangerous Animals - Melvin and Gilda Berger
Goodnight Sleep Tight Little Bunnies - Dawn Apperley
My Book of Birds - Tibor Gergley
On The Farm - Richard Scarry
Arthur's Tractor - Pippa Goohart
Farmer John's Tractor - Sally Sutton
The Boats on the River - Marjorie Flack
Building with Dad - Carol Nevius
The Old Red Tractor - Andreas Dierssen
Pooh Goes Visiting - A.A Milne
Eeyore Has A Birthday - A.A. Milne
The Picture Story Book of Wyatt Earp - Felix Sutton
Sheep Take a Hike - Nancy Shaw
Sheep in a Jeep - ""
Sheep Blast Off - ""
The Tree House That Jack Built - Bonnie Verburg
Dan Yaccarino's Mother Goose - Dan Yaccarino
Holly Hobbies Nursery Rhymes - Holly Hobbie
James Herriot's Treasury for Children - James Herriot

If you are interested in my thoughts and "rating" of each book you can see my GoodReads Profile. At the end of the year I'll do my typical book review more thoroughly on this blog. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Right Tools

I discovered something wonderful this week. Twice over, actually.  My two most dreaded jobs around the house are cleaning the shower and mopping the floor.  I mean, how irritating is it to just scrub and scrub and scrub and it feel ineffective in making things cleaner at a reasonable speed? It's only worse the bigger my pregnant belly becomes.  And that kitchen floor? That mop drives me crazy, I can't stand to be mopping, and coming to a particularly sticky spot and mop harder to scrub it away only for the lock to give in and the pole to shorten considerably. Sigh. So what's so wonderful about that? Nothing really, except I finally realized it was less of the task I dreaded, and more the tools that made the jobs seem especially horrid.  So this week I bought a new mop and a new scrubber brush.  NEW TOOLS.  And then after tackling those two jobs this week I discovered that only are they new tools but the right tools for me! Maybe not quite pure joy, but certainly pure delight and satisfaction at a job well done.

In fact, I was so delighted by scrubbing the shower and how effective it was, that I got a little carried away and didn't check on my active toddler for a bit longer than usual. Ah yes, he got into something alright!-my sourdough starter. Ha! He sees me "feed" it each day and stir it around. He's already tried stirring it on his own, but this time he decided to eat it. And it got all over his arms, face, the step stool, the bowl, the counters, oh yes, quite the mess. Since I had not explicitly told him no at that point, I used the "you clean up the mess" tactic, and he helped me clean it up. It really was quite precious to see those brown eyes look up at me as he used the wash cloth to wipe off the step stool. 18 months old and he is just a miniature human being capable of learning to everything momma does.  Which is how he made the mess in the first place, wanting to be like momma. (: My understanding is, if he is able to be destructive without anyone teaching him (even if it is merely playing, or imitating, without the intent to destroy), he most certainly is able to learn to be productive, i.e. by cleaning up his messes. The mopping was less eventful, he ate an apple while I swept and mopped today. But it was exciting at how beautifully the mop worked!

Now I'm not sure what my least motivating task is in terms of cleaning the house. It is a satisfying feeling to keep the house clean and running. It really does feel awful to be inside a cluttered and messy home and just feel overwhelmed by the thought of "Ugh I need to clean but don't even know where to start." But with this new scrub brush and mop, I know those two things will be cleaned more frequently from now on.  There are also the times, like this morning, when I just don't feel very motivated in general to get anything done. I could blame it on the pregnancy, but it's just the creeping laziness trying to take over.  But then when I get up and start checking things off my to do list, it is a wonderfully satisfying feeling to have accomplished so much when you didn't even want to start! Having the right tools is one key, having the right attitude is another.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

When I am being faithful in the seemingly small tasks, it is to God's glory and I can't keep a bad attitude in that light. The extra bonuses are knowing that it makes our home a pleasant place for Samuel to come home to, as opposed to a disaster zone, on a regular basis. Another bonus is that I am able to teach 2nd Samuel both by example, and by having him help me, to clean up and keep things neat and orderly. I wouldn't say I'm a neat freak or OCD about anything at all, far from it. I have just learned that picking up things every day, especially through out the day, keeps the "cleaning up" task from getting overwhelming. In fact, I don't even think it is my strength, just something I have had to learn by having my own home. 

In the midst of having the right tools, one of the best tools at my disposal is child training. It would be the biggest headache in the world if I was still constantly just cleaning up behind a little boy who wreaks havoc on the whole house.  God has blessed me with a wise husband, and many other wise counselors, who have given me biblical and practical advice on training a little one. And really, he's only 18 months old, he is still very little, and yet I am so delightfully surprised by the things he retains, imitates, and is capable of.  By training him young, he is helping me even now. Not just "helping", but actually helping! In some things his "help" is merely the training ground and laying the foundation for him to do the tasks entirely on his own later, but there are ways he is helping lighten my load even now.  He is beginning to clean up and put away his books entirely on his own without my having to sit/stand with him showing him what to do, keeping him focused on the task. It is marvelous! By investing my time in training him, he is a sponge soaking it all in. His learning to behave and obey mommy (and daddy) means more joy, more laughter, and more pleasantness in the home. I'm not saying it's easy, or doesn't take a tremendous effort and consistency, just that it is worth it. Since he is my first, when I first began it just seemed to not stick, or that it wasn't doing much. But WOW I can honestly say I am blown away by what a huge blessing it is turning out to be!-and he's not even a "big" kid yet. I have so much more to learn, so much more to teach him, and so much more life to live with this little guy (and #2), that it makes it wonderful to think about, rather than the "terrible twos" or the crazy life of having an out of control miniature human. And really, everyone trains their child, by example and by omission even if they don't teach them directly. It is either good training, or bad training. 

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

My prayer is that by the grace of God, He would use me in the teaching and training of my little one, that when he is older, he would be a faithful covenant keeping godly man who loves Christ Jesus his Lord!

As I type away, he is playing with one of his favorite "toys", the vacuum. He has successfully learned how to take all the parts off that are able, and is even getting better and better at putting it back together. (: My boy is 100% boy, he loves tractors, balls, doggies, electronics, and figuring out how things come apart and back together (vacuums being his favorite). He is quite the active little man, and he sure keeps me busy, but oh what pure joy it is to snuggle with him and read books too. There really is no way to describe how much this momma loves her son!

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,  The fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bookish Year in Review 2014

Well, it has been a great year in books! Having a little one in the house has brought in more children's books to the mix. Somewhere along the way I realized I could rate them and give some reviews. So the ones I remembered to do that with I added in. I surpassed my goal of reading 12 books, as I did last year. Another repeat was not actually reading all the books on my goal list. I am ambivalent toward this minor detail. Ah, well, perhaps for my next year of book goals I will try and tailor it to my reading reality?

2014 Reading List

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ – John Owen
 Green This - Deirdre Imus
The Excellent Wife - Martha Peace
Last Days Madness - Gary Demar
       Leading Little Ones to God – Schoolland
       Always Ready – Greg Bahnsen
       Chosen by God – R.C. Sproul Sr.
     Rushdoony Book
     Nullification – Tom Woods
     End the Fed  or Freedom Under Siege  – Ron Paul

Well, John Owen was begun then forgotten about once again. I am doubting this book will show up on next years list. The Excellent wife also received the same treatment. Poor books! I was going to read through this with 2 friends in an informal bible study, but that fell through and I didn't read it to wait for them, then never picked it up after that. I am currently reading Leading Little Ones to God, it's a nighttime book I read with 2nd Samuel. However, Daddy has been tucking him into bed as of late so the book hasn't been finished. Maybe in a few months. Instead of reading Nullification, I took the either or approach as with the Ron Paul books... just read a Woods book. Done. I read The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History instead. I snatched that up really cheap at the local library book sale. Win! So there you have, my excuses, er, reasons for the partially completed list. Now, perhaps we can show my real accomplishments. I'll divide it into 3 categories rather than date read. Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Children's. Here is my rating guide:

scale of 1-5 (Subject to change upon my own whim and will).

1) being, complete waste. Why did I finish it?
2) being, minimally thought provoking/entertaining. Won’t read it again.
3) being, borderline useful, mild usefulness in instruction about the faults in it/mildly entertaining; Enough good to be challenged, grow a little in thought. Might read it again.
4) being, a really great book, useful to instruct, thought provoking/good entertainment, very challenging, growth as a reader, way more good than bad, would recommend. Worth reading again.
5) being, found enjoyable, challenging, useful in many ways, would highly recommend with no holding back, over all EXCELLENT book. Need to read again!

A 3 1/2 star is not as harsh as a 3, but not quite deserving of a 4 (a really great book), but a good book none the less.


  1. The Fearful Master, G. Edward Griffin  4 Stars
  2. Woman of the House, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  3. Always Ready, Greg Bahnsen  5 Stars
  4. Ever After, Vicki Courtney  2 Stars
  5. Delight-full, Kate Collins  4 Stars
  6. Praise Her in The Gates, Nancy Wilson  4 Stars
  7. Chosen By God, R.C. Sproul 4 Stars
  8. Green This, Imus Dierdre  3 Stars
  9. Freedom Under Siege, Ron Paul  4 Stars
  10. Shepherding a Child's Heart, Ted Tripp  4 Stars
  11. The Pastor's Wife, Sabina Wurmbrand  4 Stars
  12. Thriving the First days Becoming Mommy, Elaine Mingus  2 1/2 Stars
  13. Upgrade: 10 Secrets to The Best Education For Your Child, Kevin Swanson  5 Stars
  14. A House for God: Building A Kingdom Driven Family, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  15. Raising Godly Tomatoes, Elizabeth Krueger  4 Stars
  16. Lessons Learned From Years of Homeschooling, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  17. Sketches From Church History, S.M. Houghton  5 Stars
  18. The Homeschool Life, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  19. Samuel Rutherford: A New Biography of the Man and His Ministry, Kingsley Rendell 4 Stars
  20. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Tom Woods  4 Stars
  21. The Victims of Dick and Jane, Samuel Blumenfeld  5 Stars
  22. The Biblical Trustee Family, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  23. A Word in Season Vol 1, R.J. Rushdoony  5 Stars
  24. The Greatest Century Of Missions, Peter Hammond  5 Stars
  25. Putting Feet to Your Faith, Peter Hammond  4 Stars
  26. A Word in Season Vol 2, R.J. Rushdoony  5 Stars


  1. Charity Envieth Not, Barbara Cornthwaite  4 Stars
  2. King's Arrow, Douglas Bond  4 Stars
  3. Lend Me Leave, Barbara Conrthwaite  4 Stars
  4. The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau  3 Stars
  5. Divergent, Veronica Roth, 2 1/2 Stars
  6. Insurgent, Veronica Roth 2 Stars
  7. The Four Books Collective, Veronica Roth, 3 Stars
  8. Allegient, Veronica Roth, 1 Star
  9. Partials, Dan Wells 1 1/2 Stars
  10. Fragments, Dan Wells 1 1/2 Stars
  11. Ruins, Dan Wells 1 1/2 Stars
  12. Uglies, Scott Westerfeld 2 Stars
  13. Pretties, Scott Westerfeld 2 Stars
  14. Specials, Scott Westerfeld  2 Stars
  15. Extras, Scott Westerfeld  2 Stars
  16. Unwind, Neal Shusterman  3 Stars
  17. Unwholly, Neal Shusterman  2 Stars
  18. Unsouled, Neal Shusterman 2 Stars
  19. The Fellowship of The Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien  5 Stars
  20. The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien  5 Stars


  1. The Little Airplane, Lois Lenski  4 Stars
  2. Baby's First Bible Stories 0 Stars
  3. My First Book of Tractors, Kath Jewitt  4 Stars
  4. I Love You Daddy, Jilian Harker  4 Stars
  5. I Love My Grandpa,  4 Stars
  6. I Love My Grandma, David Bedford  3 Stars
  7. I Love My Mommy, David Bedford  4 Stars
  8. Puss in Boots and Other Fairytales, Nursery Classics  4 Stars
  9. Sammy and His Shepherd: Seeing Jesus in Psalm 23, Susan Hunt  5 Stars
  10. The Tailor of Gloucester, Beatrix Potter  4 Stars
  11. The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck, Beatrix Potter  3 Stars
  12. Classic Animal Tales,  3 Stars
  13. The Legend Of Robin Hood (Barnes and Noble), Dami Editore  3 Stars
  14. The Christian Mother Goose Book of Nursery Rhymes, Marjorie Decker  4 Stars
  15. This is Texas, Miroslav Sasek  4 Stars
  16. Lad: A Dog, Albert Terhune  4 Stars
  17. Going to Sleep on the Farm, Wendy Lewison  4 Stars
  18. Sam the Minuteman, Nathaniel Benchley  4 Stars
  19. The Day the World Went Wacky, Janine Suter  4 Stars
  20. Noah's Floating Animal Park, Janine Suter  5 Stars
  21. The Not So Super Skyscraper, Janine Suter  4 Stars
  22. Sea Story, Jill Barklem  5 Stars
  23. The Reward of Childhood Truth, Dennis Gundersen  5 Stars
  24. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, Julie Steigemeyer  3 Stars
  25. Ox-Cart Man, Donald Hall  4 Stars
  26. Joshua the Brave Leader, Carine MacKenzie  5 Stars
  27. The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper 3 Stars
  28. Animals in Winter, Kids National Geographic  3 Stars
  29. Winne The Pooh Nature's True Colors, Emily Hutta  3 Stars
  30. Teach Me While My Heart Is Tender, Andrea Schwartz 5 Stars
  31. Family Matters, Andrea Schwartz  5 Stars
  32. Lion Cubs, Kids National Geographic3 Stars
Well, I could say a lot about the books I have read, and on my GoodReads Profile I have. I was disappointed by the Dystopian Genre, to say in the least.  But I enjoyed branching out and reading a lot more fiction than last year. I am in the midst of reading a few different books.  I am still reading The Institutes of Biblical Law by Rushdoony with my ladies bible study group.  And I am on the third book, The Return of the King by Tolkien to finish out the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I must say the series is now a favorite!  For morning devotions with the little one we are reading through Trial and Triumph, stories from church history, short and tailored more toward young readers/listeners. Although I am sure it was not intended for such young readers as my 13 month old. As I mentioned earlier, I am also reading Leading Little Ones to God with 2nd Samuel at night.   Maybe tomorrow I'll post my reading list goals for 2015. I thought about doing that today, but time has gotten away from me since I have been a busy little bee all day today.  Not to mention trying to make homemade pizza with a hungry toddler is quite a challenge (and rather time-consuming).

I am very pleased with far surpassing my reading expectations this year.  As you can tell, I generally have a better opinion on my non fiction spread than others. Part of my consuming so many books is because my thought is that while I have only one child to care for without the structured home educating, I have more free time to read books. I place a high value on reading and I hope that though the years may grow busier, I would never neglect to read good books that challenge me, as well as give me pleasure.