checkpoint February + twitterature

1525388_10152354854970628_928067411_nI love March.

  • I love it because on March 1st,  Spring is finally really just around the corner .
  • I love it because the daffodils start blooming. (And I look forward to that all year long…)
  • I love it because March is the month that I married my best friend. (Five years ago on the 15th! Eep!)
  • I love it because everything feels fresh and new in March. And of course, because over on KindredGrace.com there’s the kick off of March of Books. And I love  March of Books.

So…if you want to jump in on an entire month of bookish posts, reviews and best of all lots of awesome giveaways, head over to Kindred Grace and have a peek. I’m reviewing Choosing Gratitude as well as Sophie Hudson’s (AKA BooMama) new-ish book, A little Salty to cut the Sweet! (Two words: SO FUN.)

And now it’s time for February’s Twitterature!

What I’ve Read

The Beauty of Broken: My Story and Likely Yours Too—Elisa Morgan

Every family is a little broken. I’m not sure we can avoid it. Elisa shares about how God helped her to find beauty in her own broken family—and use it to become a better, stronger person.  A few differences in personal thought, but over all I did appreciate this one.  You can read a longer review here.

Notes from a Blue Bike – Tsh Oxenreider

Wow. This book was incredible. From the intro, I knew I was going to love it. And I felt like so much of it was just what I needed to hear about living intentionally and not settling in life for less than the real deal. You can read my partial review of it on KindredGrace.com. And if you haven’t read it, go buy it. Seriously. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Books in Progress

I’ve Never Been to Vegas but my Luggage has –Mandy Hale

Life in spite of Me—Kristen Jane Anderson

Bedtime Stories and Prayers

Last winter, when Scott and I first discovered that our family was growing, I finally had a better excuse  to buy and read children’s books.  I couldn’t wait to share them with our baby on the way! Turns out, we have a budding book worm on our hands who really loves her books! (Okay, she sometimes loves them a little too much! ;) )

Last week, I pulled out Bedtime Stories and Prayers to read with her before a nap. She was so excited about the new book that I had a hard time getting her to calm down and fall asleep!

Charlotte was a big fan of the big eyes in the pictures, the squeaky pages, and attempting to eat it when she couldn’t turn the pages.  Here’s what I think about the book.381114 DSC_7150

The book is filled with these adorable images of little ones and pets. I’ve always liked Dandi Dailey’s artwork for children, so it was easy to fall in love with the images in this book, too!

The poems themselves are sometimes a little forced in order to keep a rhyme going. But the sentiments are sweet and simple enough for tiny ones to grasp.

I wish the pages would have been made out of something sturdier so little fingers could more easily turn them without the danger of them tearing, but I have a feeling we’ll be reading this one a lot in the years ahead as we grow our little bookworm!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions by Tyndale House Publishers*

Reading Challenge 2014

It hit me when I sat down to write about Reading Challenge 2014. I launched the Reading Challenges on a whim. Seven Years ago.

I wrote the first reading challenge introduction with no idea where it was going or what I wanted from it. It was just so much fun that I wanted to keep doing it! So, here we are. Seven years later, it’s still been fun. 

It has been a fairly quiet last couple of years. I know that’s due to my own short comings as the Reading Challenge leader, and the changing face of the blogging community. In spite of spotty posts and a chaotic season of life that hasn’t made it easy to do all the things I wanted to do with this idea, I still get a lot of enjoyment out of reading and sharing about books on my blog.

This year, with an infant and growing a business, I know I’ve got to keep it simple if I want it to succeed. I hope to post monthly updates. I hope to review more books than I did last year.  I hope to read lots and lots of books to Charlotte. And I hope some of you will still want to jump in and join me.

If so,  by now you probably know the drill. Set yourself a personal reading goal. Challenge  yourself a little. Pick good books. Read them. Share about them. Learn from them. And as always, whatever you read, love doing it.

My personal reading goal is going to be 12 books. I’m setting it low and hoping that I’ll get to next December and impress myself by the fact that I’m several books beyond 12. But if not, 12 is a pretty nice little number, right? And this year, I have a book worm to grow, too. So I have no doubt there’ll be plenty of stories about little trains that could and spotted dogs to be read over and over again.charbooks

If you want to read more about the Annual Reading Challenge, you can get all sorts of info and read most of the past years’ worth of reviews and posts by visiting this page.

So what do you think: are you up for the Challenge this year?

Here’s to lots of good books in 2014!

m4s0n501

a good book {on gratitude}

I started reading this book about Gratitude in the beginning of the year. That was before I was working so much, and before pregnancy and life got a little extra crazy over the summer. Recently, I picked it up again and page after page is filled with what feels like just the right words for my heart.

Gratitude Quote by Nancy Leigh DeMoss http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Krappweis

Gratitude has been a type of life line for me. Its not like my life has been more tragic or more challenging than the average girl. But there has been plenty that could have been an excuse for bitterness or depression.

To me, the choice to look for joy and to be thankful has always made me better. It hasn’t changed the circumstances of my life, but it has changed my outlook so drastically that dealing with those circumstances has been somewhat less painful than it could have been. Instead of giving up, I’ve found that gratitude kept me fighting for hope.

I believe that choosing gratitude and hope is a key ingredient of being a survivor. And life is about surviving and thriving in spite of adverse circumstances, devastating pain or just plain old ordinary exhaustion.

When Gratitude becomes your default setting, life changes.

I loved Choosing Gratitude because tells you not only why you should choose to be grateful, but how to start forming those habits of thanksgiving and letting them permeate your life. It shows you not only how to look for gratitude but how it will make you better if you do. It doesn’t make the pretense that being grateful will keep bad things from happening. That’s unrealistic at best. But choosing gratitude does change you. And always for the better.

To me, as a lover of every day beauty, and finding little things to be thankful for, it was beautiful and refreshing–one of the most hopeful books I’ve read in a while. In a session of exhaustion and stress, it was exactly what I needed to remind me of all the reasons why I should keep choosing to look at everything I have to be grateful for. It’s a book that I think will be going on my small list of real inspirational treasures.

(This contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support this blog at no extra cost to yourself. I am always grateful for this.)

Want to read it? You can get Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy
from amazon. Click the link to visit the page.

Introducing…the Healthy Living eBundle!

It’s here! The next amazing eBundle in the Ultimate eBundle Series. I got a sneak peek a few weeks back, and it looks so good. I was excited when I was asked to participate in the sale again this year. (Note, my affiliate links are included in the post below. Thank you for your support. <3)

I get excited about books. I love books. I love how you can educate yourself on so many important topics and interesting hobbies just by what you spend time reading. I get excited about these eBundles because there are always a wealth of amazing books all in one place for a price I can handle.This bundle is just $29.97. For 86 ebooks, for bonuses AND for the free interactive conference. 

Take a look at this and tell me if it isn’t an awesome bunch of books!

(You can click through here to read the entire bundle stats, a list of all the eBooks included and a break down of what they cost individually, + all the awesome bonuses that are being offered this time.)

These bundles make great gifts.

Last time, I gifted portions of my bundle to different friends and family members and they were thrilled with the books. With Christmas just around the corner, I have plans to make the most of this sale, too. The great part is, if you buy one, you get the chance to get the chance to get another at 50% off! You really will not find a better deal than what you see right here.

There is a lot in the bundle that I can’t wait to get my hands on. I’d love to know more about how to make healthy skincare products, and one can never have too many books about gardening. And I’m particularly excited about the Coffee Table Conversations. This just seems like an awesome way to connect with others who have greater expertise on topics I’m interested in and a chance to ask questions after reading their books would be so great!

I put everything on one big page (It’s a lot of info!). Everything you need to know, you can find right here.

What do you think? Worth $29.97? 

The sale only lasts a few days. If you are interested at all in this bundle, you’ll want to try to get it now.

Disclaimer: I want to make it clear that I DO earn a small commission for each bundle I sell. It won’t cost you any extra to purchase through my links, but the money I earn helps to support my family through this blog. I appreciate your clicks very much. <3

The Christian Mama’s Guide to Baby’s First Year –a book review

_240_360_Book.824.cover It’s been over a year and a half since I picked up a free copy of Erin MacPherson’s first book, The Christian Mama’s Guide to Pregnancy.

I wasn’t pregnant at the time, and didn’t know when or if I might be. But it sounded interesting and it was free so I figured why not?

I only got around to reading it in the past few months. And it just wasn’t something I found helpful or very relevant for me, personally. I already had agreed to review her second book, The Christian Mama’s Guide to Baby’s First Year, and I admit I sort of dreaded dragging through another book that just wasn’t my style.

Thankfully, while I can’t say this is one of my favorite reads by any means, it was much less off target for me than the pregnancy guide had been and some parts of it really did make me laugh.

If you are in the mood for some light humor and random bits of information, you might enjoy reading it. If you are looking for a true resource guide, then you might want to keep looking.

It’s definitely not a guide you’ll have to buy or need to keep on your shelf to refer to over time. It’s a sort of humorous take on Erin’s perspective of what you’ll face as a new mom—and some of her tips on how to more than survive the spit up and the sleepless nights.

It wasn’t the resource rich book I’d expected at all. And maybe that overshadowed the fun of the book a little for me. I felt like it dragged on a little bit and found myself wanting to skip sections to get on to the next topic.

But it did have some helpful bits and pieces (Like the quick guide to the gist of all the major sleep aid books on the market) and it had some funny stories (like how she forgot her diaper bag the first time she flew and ended up with a naked baby and no diapers or clothes to put on the poor thing.). It is definitely light reading and that did make it a good break from some of the heavier things I’ve been reading lately.

So, while I can’t give it a rave review or recommend it as a great resource for moms-to-be, if you are in the mood for some fluff with a little bit of good to know information tucked in, check it out from the library. If you love it—she has a whole entire series of books you can collect. If you don’t love it…well, at least you got some laughs in while you were reading!

Reading Challenge 2013: checkpoint #6

We’re half way through the challenge, ya’ll! 

If this summer keeps up like it has been, it will be over before we have a chance to realize it got here! At least that’s how I’m feeling right now as I stare in disbelief at the calendar that says today is July 15th.

Here’s a bit of a reading recap from me

It is crazy how you can start out a year, and make plans only to see a lot of them change, mature or just fade away as the months go on. The goal I set for myself in January was 12 books in 2013.

Because I was just putting the finishing touches on a site for launching my own business as a Virtual Assistant that month, and wasn’t sure if I’d be busy or not—18 seemed like a bit of a stretch, but 12 seemed reasonable enough.

I’ve slowly started to pick up hours and clients. I’m so excited to be on my way to doing what I love and working from home! (And thank God daily for how He provides for us when we need it. Can’t wait to see how He chooses to grow this endeavor in the new year!)

But it has been all the other stuff that have made reading more of a challenge this year. We’ve weathered some crazy times this year. Of course, our soon-to-arrive tiny addition to the family has kept us both busy working extra and reorganizing our bitty home to accommodate her needs, too.

Taking all things into consideration, I think I’m doing okay with the challenge this year. Much better than last year, at any rate!

I’m just one book behind schedule, and will soon be caught up again. Of course, we will see how a newborn affects reading during the rest of the year. I’m told either I’ll be doing nothing but reading while we settle into our new life, or I’ll have to forget books until next year. Guess we’ll see!

What’s in my Reading Pile Today

I have a huge stack of books that I want and need to read. I have always read many books at once, but am thinking I need to try a new method for a new season of life. I’m limiting myself to 3 “real” books at a time. So, while my stack is near endless, my little currently reading pile is nice and tidy and looks  like it might actually get read sometime in the near future. I have nothing against reading more, but I think this might work better for me right now. reading-challenge

Two inspirational/challenge  books I am currently reading are Torn  and Choosing Gratitude. I’m particularly excited to read Choosing Gratitude. It’s the first book I’ve read by Nancy Lee DeMoss, and if the recommendations I’ve gotten about her and her books means anything, I’m going to really love it. (And if I do, you may hear about it again come March of Books next year!)

I’ve also been reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. That’s for when my brain is too tired to retain anything from the other two books in my stack. It’s a fun read when I don’t have brain power to retain something deeper and more life-inspiring. So far, it’s been fun to actually read Sherlock Holmes. It’s just one of those books you have to read once in your life time just because.

Newest Books On My Shelves

Thanks to my iPad, the kindle app & the Free eBook Alert Group on Facebook, I’m constantly getting new books. I won’t list all of them, but here’s some highlights and the two “real” books I’ve acquired in the past month. (Because I’ll never stop loving the real thing…)

Kindle Books
Real Books

Notice a trend in the real books? Yup. We’re hoping to raise a little book worm and it’s time to start stocking up the supplies. Excited about both of these!

So that’s my recap and sixth checkpoint.

How have your sixth months of reading been?

I’d love to hear all about it!

Reading Challenge 2013: checkpoint #5

My answer when asked what I have been reading lately? It’s a bit of a drawn out “Ummm….” of uncertainty.

I have been reading. But it has been more snippets and bits than anything substantial. I did pretty much finish off The Christian Mama’s Guide to Pregnancy.

I won’t do an official review but I’ll just take a moment to say that while it was lighthearted and funny sometimes, it was a lot of stuff I really couldn’t relate to or didn’t really fit with my personal experience or view of pregnancy.

One thing I did appreciate was the fact that she made a point to talk about how not loving pregnancy does not equal not loving your child! It doesn’t mean  you should mope and complain for the nine months you are pregnant. But if you don’t enjoy it that much, that’s okay. I think that’s something that more than one mama to be has felt guilt over!

I made progress on a couple of other books, and I got a couple new ones in the mail to review before summer’s over.

But May didn’t end up being about reading. I definitely didn’t finish two books in May and am a tiny bit “off schedule” now, according to my little widget. May ended up being about other things.

  • We got a tiny bit of a garden in. (Finally!) It rained and washed out a good swatch of it.
  • We reached the 30 week milestone of growing our baby girl. On a shopping trip, we found a crib set on clearance for more than 80% off of what we’d picked out. It isn’t exactly the same, but at that deal, we couldn’t pass it up. So…we put her crib together to celebrate.
  • We replanted the washed out portion of the garden. It rained again. I dug a ditch in the pouring rain, determined that it would not wash out this time. It didn’t!
  • My mom has been in town watching my brother’s kids. I’ve been spending time with her taking them to the park.
  • I caught a cold from the kids.
  • I had another midwife’s appointment in which I had to do the Gestational Diabetes test and get a shot to keep my negative blood type from potentially attacking the baby’s. My arm hurts.

I am excited about a couple of the books I have in my to-read pile, and am hoping to finish at least one of the books I started this month. I think I’m going to mix it up and read something light and fluffy next. I just can’t decide what!

Now it is your turn: What did you read last month?

on Health & Fertility

300x1420_11I wasn’t going to accept the invitation to promote another eBundle so soon after that once-a-year giant sale eBundle I shared a bunch about last week. I love finding good deals on great books, but I’m not a sales blog and I know that a person only has so much they can invest in books and bundles.

But this bundle? It is filled with a lot of good books about fertility and health in general which makes me automatically interested. But the reason I’m promoting it is not because of the topic. It’s because of who wrote two of those books and what the success of this sale means to them and their families.

The whole bundle looks amazing. I’ve been interested in natural health and fertility for the past ten years and have learned a lot. The topics are important for any woman, and I know that a lot of you might find the bundle a huge resource worth having.

But the two books? They are Pain Redeemed & Embracing Beauty. Written by two amazing women who I love and am honored to have in my life.

I reviewed Pain Redeemed for March of Books. But I can’t tell you too many times to get a copy and read it. Natasha is one of the strongest women I know. You don’t have to be struggling with infertility to be encouraged and blessed by this book. Nor do you have to be a mom to appreciate the principles of dressing and contentment that Trina talks about in her book, Embracing Beauty. They are both well worth the price, and I hope a lot of you will get them and read them.

I’m not going to be blogging about this bundle again, but I wanted to put this up so that if you were interested, you’d have what you need to make the decision on whether or not you want to buy this bundle. Personally, I’m planning to get one for myself because I think that it’ll be well worth it. I think you will agree!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links I may receive a small, one time commission. I appreciate your interest and support of this site. Thank you!

Here’s what you get in this bundle:

  • 30 eBooks, spanning fertility information, matters of the heart, real food and recipes, and pregnancy and baby information
  • 1 week long meal plans
  • bonus FREE content
  • and an entry to win a grand prize worth over $1130.00!
  •  

    Click here to read a full list of the titles and all of the other resources you get when you purchase a bundle for yourself.

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    Reading Challenge 2013—Checkpoint #4

    reading-challengeThe rain is pouring down outside. It’s been doing that a lot this year. There’s a mini lake in front of our house, and a mini river behind it. The ground is soggy, and it is cooler than usual.

    Normally, I’d be busy tending my garden. By now, it is normally bursting into tiny plants, and growing like crazy. This year, we haven’t even been able to get most of it in the ground. We’re about 14 inches ahead on rain, and there’s no sign of it stopping soon.

    I must admit that all this rain would have me a little more stir crazy than I am if it weren’t for the all the extra hours I’ve been putting in to getting my business going and for the preparations we’re making for our new addition.

    The bright side is, with it rainy and wet outside right now, there’s a greater chance that I’ll pick up a book when I have a spare moment than running outside to look at my garden. I’m trying to keep positive, because I know rain can’t last forever and I’m grateful for what I’m sure the moisture is doing for some of these dry places who need it badly.

    But back to the Reading Challenge. I talked quite a bit about books this month. I finally got my hands on one of those eBundles I kept mentioning. I finished reading a book about Christmas. I finally got my review of American Patriots up. And, more excitingly, I’ve picked up a few books to give away later on this year as well. I love doing giveaways, so I’m excited!

    I’m almost finished with reading The Christian Mama’s Guide to Pregnancy. I’m not sure if I’ll give that one a full review or not. It had some good points, but I couldn’t relate to a lot of it. However, it’s the “prequel” to another book I’ll be reviewing later on this summer so I wanted to read it.

    I’m not sure how May is going to turn out yet. If it stays as rainy as it has started, my goal is to polish off two books this month. We’ll see how that goes!

    How was your April?