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My Family and Other Animals & Birds Beast and Relatives - Gerald Durrell

These two books were wildly entertaining and overall fun reads. I have always wanted to travel the world, but alas I am a bit of a coward. Gerald Durrell’s tales of his family’s time living abroad fed my desire to learn and see other cultures. I’m awestruck by the simplicity of a different time when a child could roam through nature unattended and at leisure. It made me feel as if I was perhaps born in the wrong time.

Circle Maker & Draw the Circle - Mark Batterson

I read Circle maker the week after Christmas and did the 40 day devotional for the new year. Ever so slightly repetitive when done in close succession like that, but I can say that I have experienced the fruit of some of my prayer circles already. I had been feeling the effects of Rust Out (the opposite of burn out) and was slowly getting demoralized in my role as Stay at Home Mom. The Conversation Journal and the Conversation Podcast are both things that were circled in prayer and are starting to play out in my life.

The 49th Mystic & Rise of the Mystics - Ted Dekker

I have a love-hate relationship with Ted Dekker. Some of his stuff is just too dark for me, but the stuff that isn’t dark is great! It is very cerebral and probably not a casual read. Like all of his work, you’ll have to be comfortable going deeper and thinking hard. I watched a creative writing Masterclass with Ted Dekker and he said he writes to learn about himself and the world, this made these books make sense in a new light. Not as dark as many of his other books, but just as psychological.

Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

I love the movie and have always wanted to read the book, but it is huge and makes my wrists sore holding it for too long. I had a free Audible book so I got this one. Thirty-Seven hours long! I repainted the entire house listening to this book. I loved it, however, there is a particular N-word that is used frequently that had major shock value for me every time I heard it. I don’t think it would have been so shocking had I read it because I would have glazed over the word, but you can’t do that when it’s an audiobook. I know it is a period piece and it was written nearly 100 years ago but I was still unsettled by the word use.

Boundaries - John Townsend and Henry Cloud

Who really has good boundaries? Well, not me. I used to have better boundaries, but then I went through my depression and I have had a hard time struggling with guilt as I’ve tried to reestablish boundaries in my life. This book was helpful and empowering and definitely a book to keep around and read over again..

Irresistible - Andy Stanley

I was sitting in church when Andy preached the sermon that caused all the controversy. I stay away from news and news related sites so I had no clue about all the drama it caused. One day Jason was telling me about an interaction he had with someone about it and he asked what my opinion was and I was completely clueless. I had no clue why anyone would be offended, but then again I came from the target population of unchurched people. Since I not only attend a church where Andy Stanley is a primary teaching pastor I also serve children at one of the churches I figured I should read the book and see what all the fuss was about. I LOVED the book. I think every single Christian should read it. Since I was on the outside looking in Andy hits on so many of the things that I have struggled with “the church” in my journey. If you have criticized the sermon series you need to read the book. If you are looking to be angry and annoyed than you won't make it past chapter 2, but if you do you will be benefited from everything you read! The people who want to be offended, well they won't get past chapter 2 and they’ll misunderstand everything and then tell people they read the book and misrepresent everything as well. So if you do read it, you have to finish it otherwise you will continue to be a part of the problem, if you don’t think there is a problem then you are entirely out of tune with the generation and times we live in. Must Read!

Pride and Prejudice & Emma & Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

I read Pride and Prejudice once a year. It is one of my all-time favorite books. It has been a long time since I read the other two books so I thought I’d read them again. I like Emma too, but Sense and Sensibility drags on a little. I like the story but it gets a little slow in the middle. For Pride and Prejudice, I got in on Audible this year and really enjoyed this listening experience. Being the true nerd that I am, I have been fascinated by how the rise of literacy changed cultures and the memorization skills in our brain. I have enjoyed listening to books that I have read a million times and seeing how listening engages a different part of my brain. I want to be a better listener, so I’m trying to stretch my listening “muscle” a little this year.

Harry Potter the Entire Series - JK Rowlings

This was one of the books series that I was familiar with and chose for my listening vs reading experiment. Being grown and knowing JK Rowling’s life story I felt like this time going through the books really helped me to see them on a deeper level. It is a marvelous coming of age story written by someone who was herself coming of age as she wrote the books. If you have never read the books, I highly recommend reading about Rowling’s life story first, it will affect your perspective as you read and, I think, make it more enjoyable.

I Said This You Heard That - Kathleen Edelman

We did this study with our Small Group with Gwinnett Church. It was a ton of fun. I am a near-even split between Blue and Red. I have always known I lean more towards being a task person than a people person, but this study confirmed it. While there are ton of uses for the temperaments this particular study focused on how it colors our communication. I liked this particular angle on the study and found it useful in helping me modify my communication when talking with my husband who is a complete opposite of me

Different - Sally and Joel Clarkson

This book was truly amazing. Sally and her son Nathan were real and vulnerable about their struggles together as they navigated Nathan’s disorders growing up (OCD, ADHA, ODD, ect). Even if you don’t have a different child this book is a great read, it really ministered to my mom heart. If you don’t think this book has anything you might be interested in, you NEED to read chapter 8. This chapter has an amazing story from Sally and Joel that ALL our children will face at some point and the conversation between the mother and son was groundbreaking and mindset changing for me. The fact is everyone who has a faith in Jesus is going to struggle with this, and yet it is my greatest fear as a parent that my children would struggle in this way. Sally’s honest and candid response to her son at this moment should be a witness and an example for all parents in how to handle this when it comes our way. I will most definitely be reading this book again as I’m sure there are more nuggets of wisdom that I didn’t take in on my first time through.

We Need to Talk - Celeste Headlee

We listened to this on a road trip in one sitting. I will probably need to come back to it next year and relisten to it at a slower pace. For me the most memorable take away I got from the book was that listening is a vital conversation skill. I don’t know if we have a talking problem these days I’m sure it is a listening problem.

The Art Of Conflict Management - Michael Dues

I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (counseling management) over 10 years ago and I have been a stay at home mom for most of that time. I took this course all those years ago and this was a great refresher. I enjoyed it this time because I wasn’t stressed out about partner projects, grades, and working full time. It was empowering as well and helped me to remember I do know this stuff and, as I’ve struggled with Rust Out recently, that I am not useless.

Dare to Lead - Brene Brown

My favorite quote from the book “Your mind might hurt for a while but that’s good.” Brene is honest as always and she doesn’t pull and punches. I really enjoyed this book, and while it stands on its own, I do want to go back and read Braving the Wilderness and some of her other books now. I am not a vulnerability master by any means and I was raised to suck it up and shy away from it. Reframing my mind and digging up lies from my childhood is not an easy process but this book was encouraging and gave me some tools to keep moving forward. I was particularly interested in the classroom applications of this work. I may not homeschool anymore but innovative education is a passion and interest of mine. For all you teachers out there who find Brene’s work to be beautiful and who want to create Daring Classrooms she has a section of her website with FREE resources dedicated to just for teachers.

Next Up

I Didn’t See it Coming - Carey Nieuwhof

Jason finished it last year now it's my turn.

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