Saturday, February 16, 2019

An Easter Prayer: A Book Review

Now that I have kids, I'm getting pickier about what books we have in the house. I want fewer, higher quality books for our kids to look at and listen to because I know their little minds will be shaped by the pictures and stories! Although our daughter G is getting to an age where she loves real stories and will be attentive for longer books, she still enjoys the simple "touch and feel" story books. An Easter Prayer is a great little Touch and Feel book with charming illustrations of Spring animals and flowers. Each page has something for little ones to feel-- a smooth egg shell from a hatching chick, the soft green Easter grass, or a cuddly baby bunny's fur. The words are a simple rhyming prayer that flows along with the pictures and reminds your child to be thankful for the small joys of each season. I liked this book a lot even though it's very simple. A thoughtful prayer, sweet illustrations, and cute touch-and-feel options make this a perfect gift for an Easter basket! (Shhh...don't tell, but it will probably be in our Easter basket along with some sidewalk chalk and kites!)

[Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Friday, February 15, 2019

Life Is Beautiful...

Yes, motherhood is tough stuff sometimes. Life is tough stuff sometimes. You all know I write about that stuff like an open book. But life and motherhood are good, too. They're beautiful. Full of sweet moments of joy, delight, gratitude and grace. Here are a few from this year so far...(warning: major photo dump of cute babies.)

Post bath cuddles

Crafting with my mini me

Going to her first Valentine's Day party

This little love's twinkling eyes and mischievous smile

Seeing them interact as siblings (and in their cute church clothes)

Breakfast in a tent!

Play-doh with Nana

Exploring and loving anything that has wheels!

For once, just sitting in this chair instead of
climbing up the back and arms and giving me a heart attack

The days (and nights!) can be long but years are going fast already and wow, is my heart full of love for these two.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Winter and the Written Word

I just couldn't help myself with a bit of alliteration in that title...

Anyone else on a reading kick this winter? I have read so. many. great books this past year, and I've also branched out with different genres, authors, recommendations. It feels good to stretch my mind and preferences. I'm currently reading The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, and it's so different from what I expected but in a good way. She is an INCREDIBLE woman and her gentle, humble faith has me in awe (and tears at times!). I'm about 3/4 of the way through and highly recommend it. Here are a few other books I've been into:

The Bible. Ha. Need I even say why I recommend this book? ;) But I'm actually more interested in sharing with you about this particular's the first complete journaling/coloring Bible for Catholics! I've been intrigued by all the talk of journaling Bibles and I'm kind of a sucker for pretty things. This Bible looked so lovely, I couldn't wait to receive it. It's a beautiful rose color and page edges are decorated with a colorful pink and blue butterfly/floral theme. It's a hardback Bible (I actually kind of wish it was softcover...seems a bit more mobile?) and comes with an elastic latch as well as a ribbon bookmark. The inside pages are thin like most Bibles but I've been impressed that my highlighting doesn't seem to bleed through to the opposite page. Every few pages, there are verses that have been scripted with illustrations on the side of the page that you can color. I'm not a big coloring person but I imagine I will be in a couple years when I can color along with my daughter (at this age, she prefers I help her color her current page, haha). For now, I enjoy the blank spaces for notes and journaling (which occur on all the pages that don't have the coloring verses). The thing I was most hesitant about with this Bible was the translation. It's a New Living Translation (NLT) and I generally like NRSV or DR or even the NAB. I tend to like the more word-for-word translations and my impression of the NLT is that it's a bit more modern. However, I haven't minded it at all thus far and still find it beautiful and accurate (I guess I was afraid it would be similar to the "Message" Protestant translation but it's not.). It's also approved by the Church (an Imprimatur) for personal reading and study, so that also reassured me. All in all, I'm thrilled to have a new Bible to read and write in. My old one was more from my youth and young adult days and written all over the place with thoughts from those days. I like having this gorgeous new Bible to begin journaling my motherhood years and how the Lord spoke to me through them and His word. 4.8 out of 5. (It would be 5 if it was the NRSV and a more subtle page edge decoration...the flowers and butterflies are pretty but a little bold).
[Thank you to Tyndale Blog Network for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

I'm always on the lookout for a new bedtime book. Our daughter loves having three books read to her each night before bed, and as she's getting older she's enjoying longer stories. The board books are fun but we're slowly graduating to longer, real-page books and it's just delightful. I grew up listening to Michael W. Smith's music so I thought this children's book co-authored by him would be a fun one to try. I like that it's in rhyme, and I like that it revolves around the bedtime routine of the characters (my daughter enjoyed seeing the similarities between the puppy's routine and her own). The story is a little silly and a few of the rhymes seem a little out there, but overall it's a cute book. Not my favorite, but one we've read more than once. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

This book deserves its own post. And I just might do another post expanding on it. I am flying through this one, nodding my head so many times. I've been pretty passionate about women friendships ever since I moved out on my own after college. I began hosting girls' nights once a month with anyone who would come-- old friends, new friends, church friends, school friends. I threw together themed parties and emailed anyone in my contact list. What grew from that were not only some amazing memories but some really deep and solid friendships even now ten years later. In this season of married life with littles, my time to connect with friends feels so much smaller (as well as interrupted) but this book has rekindled my desire to get past surface friendships and cultivate deep and lasting ones with the women around me, to hold onto my past friendships and keep nurturing them, and to be intentional in my relationships about both quality time and quality conversation. I've read several of the Clarkson family books before and have always enjoyed them, but this one has almost been a page-turner for me (occasionally a few chapters are slow but it hasn't been the norm). I've really enjoyed getting to know Sarah (Sally's daughter) more through this book and feel like we'd be kindred spirits. ;) I also think Joy (younger daughter) would be tons of fun. Overall all, this book is a refreshing, challenging, inspiring reflection on the authors' intentional friendships, the reasons they value friendship, and thought-provoking encouragement on how to create your own "girls club" of lasting friends.  5 out of 5 stars.
[Thank you to Tyndale Blog Network for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]