What I Read in 2016…


Image result for pics of reading booksBack in the spring of last year, I shared my reading list here. I thought I’d update it, before the year is done, but alas it is now January! …maybe you’ll be inspired to read more in these cold winter months, when no one can fault you for curling up on the couch for hours on end…

Reality Check…Since more than half of that list were “no-go’s” – here’s an update on what I did end up reading:Image result for pics of reading books

Disclaimer – for those of you who are new to a Whisper of Grace…I am very aware that I read a lot. Furthermore, this list is not comprehensive because I don’t include books I only get part way through, and I haven’t included reference books (because that would be kind of boring and perhaps give you too much insight into my private life – ha) and also, technically there’s only two classics on this list, and lot’s of fiction and memoir which tend to be easy reads…this year I’m hoping to return to reading some great works that are “harder” reads.  I hope this list inspires you or perhaps you’ve also read one of these (or more) and would like to discuss – I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment. Later this week I’ll post what I hope to read in 2017 – at least to start.


World War Z by  Max Brooks

My husband gave me this for Christmas and I’m really enjoying it. It’s so completely different from the movie – and such a different writing style and composition. A fictional history on a past world wide zombie pandemic. I don’t use this word a lot, but it’s really cool.




Quiet by Susan Cain

Product Details“The power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” – I’ve heard so much about this book and feel like it’s going to change my way of thinking about myself, the way Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax did about understanding boys, or like Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman did for valuing my own gifts years ago.



With Open Hands  by Henri Nouwen

Product DetailsI can only say, thanks to a friend, this spring will be for me, “the year of Henri Nouwen”. I read 2 of his smaller books last year and this being one of them and I literally felt my heart growing.




The Calvary Road by Roy Hession

Product DetailsAgain, another little gem that revolutionizes your mind and heart.






Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

The Bone Labyrinth  by James Rollins 

The Survivor by Vince Flynn

Speaking in Bones Kathy Reichs

These were fun. Kind of like a movie, the kind of book I can usually finish in a night if I’m willing to sacrifice a little sleep. It’s usually worth it.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Sons of Encouragement  by Francine Rivers

The Last Sineater by Francine Rivers          

The Blythes are Quoted LM Montgomery       

These were more thoughtful. Usually take me a few days. Like thoughtful movies, that leave you thinking a little bit.

Product Details

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus                      Beth Moore

I adored this book. It was fun, and moving and riveting – pure enjoyment. It had quirky characters and a fun setting, a great plot with some twists. Beth Moore’s first foray into fiction does not disappoint.



Product DetailsThe Red Tent                                                  Anita Diamant

After reading – a year of Biblical Womanhood where I first heard about it, I found it fortunate to find this book on a freebie table…and I love love loved it. It reminded me of The Woman Who Named God by Charlotte Gordon – but even better… because it covers the stories of more than just one woman from the time of Abraham. It was fascinating and also empowering.


Product DetailsUninvited                                                       Lysa Terkeurst

One of my favs this year, my take away was to savor the gifts of being alone, being set apart (rejected) and silence.




Product DetailsPresent Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

This was not one of my favourites from SN. Not bad, just didn’t blow me away – I didn’t connect with repeated truths as I had in past books like Cold Tangerines and Bread & Wine, but I did take away the value again, of silence…it also happened to be when I was reading Hession and Nouwen – who both addressed silent seasons in prayer…so maybe it was timely afterall.


Product DetailsParis  by Edward Rutherford

For me reading Rutherford is like going on a Holiday to fascinating places around the world. Since I’ve actually been to Paris – I loved this one perhaps most because of the connection to the physical city I’ve experienced. It was also interesting to me because we were studying the French Revolution in Homeschool around the same time…really made it come alive for me.

Experience And EducationAmusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Experience and Education  by John Dewey

Amusing Ourselves to Death  by Neil Postman

These were very intellectual books tackling the subjects of public education and the effects of mass media and technology on society. Both very informative and interesting.

Product DetailsTeaching From Rest by Sarah MacKenzie

One of my favs from this year. I read it three times… and keep it nearby for handy access. It is not lost to me that my word for 2016 was REST and she drove home how to bring it into my homeschooling day again and again. I think this would bless even non-homeschooling families.


Ordinary Christianity    by Jonathon Welton

I like reading Welton, because he pushes the religious cultural boundaries – but in a very loving and biblical way – not in a way that leaves you with more questions than answers like some authors do, but with questions and hope, definitely hope.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

A Gracious Space: Winter, Spring, Fall         Julie Bogart

Fav. Homeschool “devotional” – and she’s started a series on Youtube last year, so I can listen to it while setting up school or doing the dishes. Score.

Product DetailsOrthodoxy                                                      G K Chesterton

It took me 2 years to finish this one. Take away…as a society – we know so much and are even more ignorant. As believers we need to listen more and speak less. We need to hold onto our identity in Christ with more passion and more humility. And finally, history repeats itself .




Product Details

Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening                   Carol Wall

Reading this book was an emotional experience. Very good, timely for me…healing.




Product DetailsNotes from a Blue Bike                                  Tsh Oxenreider

Great book, but to be completely honest – I get more from her blog and podcast.




Product DetailsProduct DetailsCarry on Warrior    &           Love Warrior                         by Glennon Doyle Melton

I read both of these within months of each other. I was moved, I don’t agree with all she says, but mostly I learned some things about myself and my own faith, and that made all the difference.

Product DetailsAtlas Girl                                                         Emily T. Wierenga

My take on this was Kind of the same as Notes from a Blue Bike. I read a lot of memoirs this year, and enjoyed them all…but they only take you so far. I did like that I was hearing from a Canadian in this one.



Product DetailsLean on Me                                                     Anne Marie Miller

This was timely for me as I took a step out of my comfort zone and joined a Mom’s group at church this past fall. This book spoke to me about stepping out in faith again, to open myself up to others, to be vulnerable and have community outside of where I was comfortable.


Product DetailsSpeak                                                              Nish Weiseth

Another memoire, but lot’s of take away – all to do with Story and sharing and community.




Product DetailsA Year of Biblical Womanhood                     Sarah Held Evans

This one was right in the flow of so many things in my journey over the past couple years really. It was timely, and one I will revisit.



Product DetailsFor the Love                                                    Jen Hatmaker

This book just made me laugh and laugh – and then hammered home truth like a shotgun when I was exposed and not expecting it…yeah, it was just like that.



Product DetailsThe Way of the Heart                         Henri Nouwen

OH My – where does one start with Henri? This book discusses silence and solitude and prayer and pilgrimage and hospitality in ways like I’ve NEVER heard. As mentioned above, I literally felt shifts happening in my head and heart while reading this little gem. Kind of like reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, but in today’s language…only kind of.


Product DetailsAll the Pretty Things                                      Edie Wadsworth

This was an adventure that I couldn’t put down. I’ve read her blog for years, and the book just did not disappoint. The blog kept us posted on her journey in writing it, so it was just great to be along for the ride.



Product DetailsFrozen Tears                                                   Lina Aziz

Eye opening account behind the doors of one Arab-Canadian family – and grace and salvation.




Product DetailsA Million Little Ways                                     Emily P Freeman

Hands down the best book of my year – it spoke to my heart as an artist, a writer, a woman and as a child of God. Liberating and encouraging on so many levels. I gave away several copies of this one.



Product DetailsThe Life-Giving Home                                    Sally & Sarah Clarkson

Mother-Daughter team – loved the insight into their writing, their home and family practices, and took so much away from this practically and personally.



HOME EDUCATION – these were books we read aloud together in School last year.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

My Side of the Mountain                    Jean Craighead George

20000 Leagues Under the Sea            Jules Verne

The Long Winter                                 Laura Ingalls Wilder

The King’s Shadow                              Elizabeth Alder

The Door in the Wall                          Marguerite de Angeli

Jotham’s Journey                                 Arnold Ytreeide


I love our read aloud part of the day. It doesn’t happen everyday, but I wish it would – it never disappoints and it’s so exciting to go on the adventures of these books along with my kids.




Update on Books

In spite of my not writing much, I have been reading much. I feel this pressure to cram in as much reading as possible before the nice weather comes and I relegate reading to an “after the kids go to bed” activity. Once the weather turns nice in Niagara, we are outside as much as possible. But for now…this is what we woke up to today…


Pretty, yes. Enjoyable…in late March…no.

I have about 5 trays of seeds that I’ve been starting in the window and I am filled with excitement watching them grow, knowing that in a few short weeks they’ll be in the ground, which means, I’ll be outside…in the garden. So as excited as I am to get my hands dirty, I am reading as much as humanly possible.

February and March 2015 396

I have finished…

Table Grace – Douglas Webber

Favourite quote: “Jesus invited more people to lunch than He did to the synagogue.”

This small book is packed with biblical insights on hospitality and illuminates God as the host for true fellowship with us. Honestly, I won’t be lending this one out simply because I don’t want it to be out of my reach. There are so many thoughtful insights that I need to go back and read it again and again. Especially as this seasons recurring theme for me is hospitality and the Lord’s table.

Raptureless – Jonathon Welton

Favourites:   Chapter 5 – the Elements, the earth and the land; Chapter 8 – the fulfillment of the covenants; Chapter 10 – The Kingdom without Wrath

um… all I can say is that it blew my mind, more than once. I feel like I’ve been anchored right back into the proper understanding of God’s plan, you know, the big picture. There were so many things that just never made sense to me about the end times, the judgements, God’s wrath and grace…the ages, etc….For the longest time I avoided it and just figured that blind faith in the goodness of God would keep me in the clear (and I still believe that’s true) – but I also have found that our faith can grow as we seek truth and answers and clarity. This book pointed me to teachers like Sproul, Chilton, N.T. Wright, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Josephus and others, as well as the biblical narrative itself in providing the most simple answers, that after the fact, I wondered how we’ve all missed it for so long? Now, I can be truly optimistic about the future, not in the escapist view or in the blind acceptance view, but in the view that believers held for centuries before the western church was polluted with a very strange set of teachings on eschatology. My advice, read it and then we’ll talk.

Cold Tangerines – Shauna Niequist

Fav Quotes: “Life with God at its core is about giving your life up to something bigger and more powerful. It’s about saying at every turn that God knows better then we know, and that His Spirit will lead us in ways that we couldn’t have predicted.”

“Everything is an interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is.”

The second of her books I’ve read. This one took a day. Not because it’s simple or fluffy – but because I identify. With her and with her writing style. I ended up filling up several pages of a journal with ideas for my own writing. She inspires me to write.

Next Up:                Blood, Bones and Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton.

I joined a cooking club, and one of the members told me this is a must read, so I must read it…next.

The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst

A couple good friends recommended it, so it’s next after that.

Finally, our local Book OUtlet had a warehouse box sale – $30 and fill a big box with any books you find.  Great if you can handle the crowds, the dust and the vast tables covered helter skelter with every kind of book you can think of, in no particular order at all. I walked away with scads of books for the kids and a few treasures for myself, like…

The Princes of Ireland – Vol 1 – Rutherford

A History of the World in 6 Glasses – Tom Standage

The Divine Romance – Gene Edwards

Christ in the Passover – Cecil & Moishe Rosen

ReFocus – Jim Daly

The Everyday Writer – Andrea Lunsford

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control

Edible, A Celebration of Local Foods – Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian

Taste of Home Bakeshop Favourites

Dinner and a Movie – Katherine Bebo

As you can see, my list just keeps getting longer – but I’m perfectly ok with that. What are you reading?


The Reading List… 2015.

I’m just going to dive right back into blogging with an easy topic – my current reading list. It kind of looks like this…


 Disclaimer – it’s long… I’ve been hibernating since the New Year (my #1 reason for loving winter is the guilt free day long reading binges). I have devoured many, many books… here’s the low down:


(Side Note – this list is not in the order I read these books. I often have 2 or 3 on the go. Classics are especially hard to get through because they require reflective thought throughout the book – not just at the end – and I read fiction at random, where as non-fiction books are usually added to a self-education plan I’ve set up for myself, based on my life and needs at that time)

Fiction:      I have to preface this with – I find I go on tangents in Fiction…the current one is Historical Fiction. I have been lost in several eras of history…and I’m loving the understanding it gives me for all sorts of issues even today.

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett…I’ve waited 2 years for this one to come out and after seeing it in the fall did not even hesitate to plunk down the cash, bring it home and immediately begin reading it. It did not disappoint.  It finished up the Century Trilogy which covered WWI and WWII in the first 2 “tomes” and they are gigantic, but awesome. This 3rd novel covered the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement up til the last decade or so. (Disclaimer – these books are not nice, they are messy, dirty and violent. So is history. They deal with controversial aspects of history and the heros and villains  with creativity and the author’s perceived authenticity)

Code to Zero also by Ken Follett…an older spy novel of his (2000) covering the Cold War Era (think 1958). The story follows the events surrounding the initial stages of the space race between the US and Russia. It’s a cross between the Bourne Identity and the Jack Ryan novels. A good read.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley…this novel covers the Legends Camelot. Merlin, Arthur, the Nights of the Round table and all, but from the female character in the leading role. Interesting Perspective.

The Ancestors of Avalon also by MZB…covers the Legend of the Lost City of Atlantis and the survivors establishing a new colony in ancient Britain. The pre-cursor to the aforementioned mists of Avalon.

The Firebrand also by MZB… a stand alone novel covering the Iliad aka the Trojan War, again with a female character in the pivotal role. I really enjoyed this one due to my persona interest in ancient Greece, mythology and the settlement of the Mediterranean during the Greek Dark Ages.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin…I loved this simply for the similarity to the story of Cora from Downton Abbey. If you love that TV show, you’ll love this book. America  in her Golden Age and Britain during the years at the turn of the century late 1800s to early 1900’s. A great read. If you find the age of the Robber Barons interesting, you’ll enjoy this book.

Anything by Francine Rivers – I have to mention here that I cannot honestly remember which of her books I read between October and February, but I know there were several (the reason for this, is that I borrowed them) – One Series covered from pre WWII – through to the 90’s) a mother and daughter saga – there was another one, and I reread the Scarlet Thread, which flipped between the pioneering days on the Oregon Trail and present day California…I love her books, my all time favs being the Mark of the Lion trilogy which I read last year, and they still haunt me. This year I am haunted by…

Redeeming Love also by Francine Rivers – The story of Hosea and the prostitute Gomer but during the Californian Gold Rush. Wow. What a beautiful picture of redemption and Grace.

New York by Edward Rutherfurd…this novel covered the development of NYC from it’s humble beginnings as an Indian Hunting ground in the 1600s through to present day. Glorious, so very interesting in the character of the city as a stand alone but also as a reflection of the development of America.

(Side note: I have found that the movies, documentaries, and supplimentary reading (ie. news articles, etc) have been reflective of my reading – for example, I watched the entire series The Men Who Built America (Robber Barons), The Secrets of Highclere Castle/ Downton Abbey, Henry the VIII’s Castle, the Tudors, Call the Midwife, Marco Polo, Generation Earth – ie – the World’s Tallest towers/ bridges, etc, The Book of Negroes – and they all in one way or another intersected with my reading…just thought that was interesting)

Non – Historical Fiction…

Bones Never Lie…Kathy Reichs…if not the most recent, one of the most recent releases (2014). Never disappoints. These books are a good single day read when I need a break. Love them.

Grave Secrets…Kathy Reichs…one of her older ones (2002) – found it in a pile at a $1 book sale and realized I’d never read it. Another good quick read.

Agenda 21 by Glen Beck…if you love the Hunger Games/ Insurgent Books – you’ll like this…until you get to the end of the book – then I’m warning you, you’ll crawl around conspiracy sites, looking for the truth. A slightly disturbing read.

Non Fiction (Again, in no particular order)

What a Difference a Mom Makes by Kevin Leman…I loved this book. It is a mess now, I’ve written in it, highlighted entire chapters, and shared a bunch of quotes. I will be started a book study with a bunch of moms of boys this spring. If you are a mom of boys…you must read this book.

The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister…a practising nun, Joan’s insights to the church calendar and how it is designed to enrich the believer’s life as an individual and as a member of the larger body. Having spent a good 2 years deeply immersed in the study of the home/ simple/ organic church movement and worked through many of my issues with the institutional church, I found this study of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary time both fascinating and inspiring. I have no intention of joining a Catholic or Orthodox congregation, but I have certainly developed a deep respect for the original intention in their worship.

Grace Upon Grace by John W. Kleinig…I think after all is said and done, I read this about 3 times in a row. Especially the first 3 chapters. It was mind/spirit blowing. Written by a Lutheran theologian, I’m still munching on it honestly. I keep putting it on the shelf and then taking it back down to reread something. It was that timely and thought provoking to me.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Nieguist…my sister lent me this one to read. After about 2 chapters I went online and ordered my own (so I could write in it) and I also purchased one for a friend. It’s been a long time since a book could make me messy cry. This one did. It also touches on some of my favourite subjects – hospitality, food, friendship, family, community. It’s another one that doesn’t stay on the shelf.


The following Books I am in the Middle of:

Tablegrace by Douglas Webster – On the art of Hospitality in the Christian Life

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman – Explores the corrosive effects of the media on a democratic society.

Raptureless & The Art of Revelation by Jonathan Welton – an ancient and non-conformist study on the End of the World (according to the Book of Revelation…well kind of)

Orthodoxy by G K Chesterton – It’s on almost all the top 10 must reads for Christians…I shouldn’t really have to explain any further.

The Best of Lewis Carroll…Poetry anthology. Thought I’d reread Jabberwocky and then kept going. Good poetry is weird like that.


Finally, these books are next (as in on my side table waiting for me to begin…

The Princes of Ireland…another historical fiction by Rutherfurd

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist…predecessor to Bread and Wine.

City of God by Saint Augustine…yes the classic, because I feel like stretching my mind even more (Once I’m done with Chesterton)

The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis…because I haven’t read anything of his since the Screwtape Letters 2 years ago, and that’s just wrong.

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday…the hubby picked this up for me, thought I’d enjoy being enraged reading about the true stories of how media manipulates the masses….he knows me so well.

Where There is Love, There is God by Mother Theresa

Common Roots by Robert E. Webber…I read his series on Worship a long time ago and wanted to take a deeper look.

The Richest Person in the World by Stan Toler & Debra White-Smith

God Enters Stage Left by Tim Day

not a fan. by Kyle Idleman

A World Full of God’s by Keith Hopkins

The Fort by Bernard Cornwell

The Help by Katheryn Stockett

Reference Books:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks – a Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond – one of my fav. Christmas presents. I love the pictures, the recipes, the stories. Love it.

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett – I’m convinced this is the no nonsense route to reclaiming my health and a trim figure, once I commit. Therein seems to be the problem.

Congrats, you’ve made it to the end of this monster post! You deserve a snack for your effort! Try the recipe book, it has some great ideas – haha!

Again, this list will change. Nothing is static in my world…the snows will thaw, and I just won’t have the time to roll through so many books,but a girl can hope. Hope you’ve been inspired, or your interest has been piqued a little and that you’ll savour these last few weeks before the thaw, with a couple of great books.


Mama T

What I Read in 2013

I realize it’s been a LONG time. Far too long in fact, since I have had a post on what I’ve been reading. The last time I posted, was in MAY last year. Yikes. I’ve spent all my time since then reading and not blogging about it…sorry, and I will try harder in 2014.

I did not read all the books that I had written down on that list, but I did read a ton of books that I came across through the months.

Tam’s Top 5 (Based on the fact that I learned the most, read more than once or simply is timely based on where we are in our life’s journey)
üWhen Life & Beliefs Collide…James  *   I absolutely love books that make me think, question myself, challenge what I believe and examine my foundations and motivations. This book was one of those, it helped refine what I think and how to convey it.
üRevolution The Story of the New Testament Church (the first 17 years)...Gene Edwards 

Honourable Mention goes to:
üGod’s Favourite Place on Earth…Frank Viola*   I loved this book. A really different take on the house in Bethany and it’s role in the life of Jesus then and now.

üEducating the Whole Hearted Child…Clay Sally Clarkson
   This is a must read for all homeschoolers, and one to go back to again and again through the process.

Books I read cover to cover (the ones with stars I recommend)

üRoaring Lambs...Bob Briner 

üThe Alchemist…Paulo Coelho

üThe Gospel of Ruth…James 

üLost Women of the Bible...James
üDumbing Us Down (The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)…John Taylor Gatto
üLast Child in the Woods…Richard Louv *             
      I read most of this. It’s definitely one to keep on hand. Such a good book to come back to when you are trying to change your family habits of being indoors so much.

üWheat Belly…William DavisüSame Kind of Different as Me… Ron Hall and Denver Moore’s

üThe Fall of Rome
üA Place Called Freedom…Ken Follet
üThe Silas Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Titus Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Timothy Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Priscilla Diary...Gene Edwards 
üThe Gaius Diary...Gene Edwards 

Books I STILL check in on Every Year
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Simple Abundance – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Grace Based Parenting – Tim Kimmel

Currently Reading
The Happiest Toddler on the Block…Harvey Karp
Orthodoxy…GK Chesterton

Up Next
The Way they Learn…Cynthia Tobias

When the Church Was a Family…Joseph H Hellerman
Jesus Manifesto…Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet
The Key to your Child’s Heart…Gary Smalley
Hind’s Feet on High Places…Hannah Hurnard
Emma…Jane Austen
The Guests of War Triology…Kit Pearson

Einstein  Walter Isaacson
Prisoner in the Third Cell-Gene Edwards
A Briefer History of Time  Stephen Hawking
A Short History of Everything  Bill Bryson
The Pursuit of God – A W Tozer
The Works of Charles Dickens

The Big Ones I Hope to Tackle someday…

Confessions or The City of God….AugustineMere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

The Divine Comedy by Dante
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Odyssey by Homer
The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer

What I’ve Been Reading in 2013

Reimagining Church…Frank Viola
      I loved this book. I’ve read it more than once and bought a second copy to lend out so I could keep mine as I refer to it so often.
The Forgotten Women of the Bible….Carolyn Custis James
     A friend of mine introduced me to this author and I’ve become a fan. I love her encouragement for women to study theology – the knowledge of God. I borrowed the rest of her books so I could dig into the scriptures. I found it really compliments the viewpoint that Frank Viola has of the role of men and women in the  church and in the scope of history.
The Core…Leah A Bortins
    I borrowed this and then bought my own. A great resource for the classical approach to homeschooling which I hope to incorporate into our studies.
The Backyard Homestead…Carleen Madigan
   Another great resource for the garden and organic living.
A Love That Multiplies…Michelle & JimBob Duggar
    Whichever way you view the Duggar Family’s approach to family life, they have a successful track record and their views/ suggestions are worth consideration.
Half the Church...James
   I’m not quite finished this one, but again I love James’ approach.
Irrisistable Revolution…Shane Claibourne
   Probably my third read, I read it again for our book club. Always inspiring, I find there’s always something different for me to consider in social justice.
From Eternity to Here…Frank Viola
   Again, for the book club, I read this one which is easily among my top 5 favourites. 

The Untold Story of the New Testament Church…Viola
   I’m also not all the way through this one because it’s actually more of a study guide for reading the New Testament in chronological order.
Jesus a Theocracy…Viola
  This one is a very deep read, it’s been a slow go.
Riven…Jerry B Jenkin
  One of my fiction selections. I really enjoyed this portrayal of God’s faithful pursuit of His beloved.
Bloodline…James Rollins
  I enjoyed Rollins latest release even though it was a “vampire” story.
The Lost Years…Mary Higgins Clark
  Clark’s books are like movies for me, a nice way to relax for an afternoon. Definitely a whodunnit book.
Winter of the World…Ken Follet
   I’m such a history fan, love “living books” like this.
Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling…
  Another great resource. Even though I’m not “getting started”, I found so much new resouce material for our family.
Revise Us Again….Viola

  Love his tongue in cheek observations on the Christian Subculture.

Next On the Docket
Roaring Lambs...Bob Briner
The Alchemist…Paulo Coelho
When Life & Beliefs Collide…James
The Gospel of Ruth…James
The Key to your Child’s Heart…Gary Smalley
Hind’s Feet on High Places…Hannah Hurnard
Emma…Jane Austen
The Guests of War Triology…Kit Pearson
Last Child in the Woods…Richard Louv
Wheat Belly…William Davis

After That

When the Church Was a Family…Joseph H Hellerman
Jesus Manifesto…Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet
God’s Favourite Place on Earth…Frank Viola
Same Kind of Different as Me… Ron Hall and Denver Moore’s
Educating the Whole Hearted Child…Clay Sally Clarkson
The Way they Learn…Cynthia Tobias

What I Read in May

I read fewer books this month…let me explain.
First of all, I spent a great deal of time researching curriculum changes for next year. That’s now complete and I’m happy with my choices. Second we’ve been pushing to finish our studies this month because it’s getting harder and harder for the boys to focus when they (actually we all) would rather be outside playing, gardening, exploring, etc. So we’re almost done! Yay!

Finally, I mentioned last month that I would be reading:

So after reading 1/2 of The Well Educated Mind, I slowed things down. The Author Susan Wise Bauer encourages you to read the classics and to really digest what you are reading…it also says reading a whole lot of books really fast is symptomatic of our society of fast food, TV and the world wide web. (gulp)That we are dumbing ourselves down by not diving into books that require serious contemplation (including FICTION and a different approach to reading scripture). It is one heck of a book with very good arguments…so I’ve decided to challenge myself to the reading list in the book (which they suggest would take YEARS to complete) Ha!

As a personal note: the below list kind of terrifies me, but many of the books I’ve always wanted to read, and now I find  so much of our home school curriculum refers to them too. So as terrifying as it is, I’m also oddly excited. PS. I’ll still be reading other smaller books as I’ve always done, but not as many, because I really do want to increase my intelligence and educate my kids in the same way. 

Included in the book are her suggestions of 30 great books to read from 5 genres: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama and Poetry. The books are listed chronologically and she suggests reading them in order. The genres are broken down into 5 chapters with an detail explanation how to read them and a synopsis is included on each title with the best edition to read.

The goal of the mini challenge is to read at least 3 books in each category.  Any book read can be applied to the 12 classics in 12 months challenge.  Listed are the first 15 suggestions in each category, however you may choose from any title listed in the Well Educated Mind.
(Those written in Blue, I already own, and some I’ve read…so should start there – those written in Purple, I’d like to try next) By the way, this is not a complete list. 🙂 Wish me luck.
Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes
The Pilgrim’s Progress -John Bunyan
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
The Trial – Franz Kafka
1984 – George Orwell

Augustine – The Confessions
Margery Kempe – The Book of Margery Kempe
Michele De Montaigne – Essays
Teresa Of Avila – The Life of Saint Teresa of Avilaby Herself
Rene Descartes – Meditations
John Bunyan – Grace Abounding in the Chief of Sinners
Mary Rowlandson – The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration
Jean Jacques Rousseau – Confessions
Benjamin Franklin – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Henry David Thoreau – Walden 
Harriet Jacobs – Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself 
Frederick Douglass – Life and Times of Frederick Douglass 
Booker T. Washington – Up from Slavery 
Friedrich Nietzsche – Ecce Homo
Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf 
Herodotus – The Histories
Thucydides – The Peloponnesian War
Plato – The Republic
Plutarch – Lives
Augustine – The City of God
Bede – The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince
Sir Thomas More – Utopia
John Locke – The True End of Civil Government 
David Hume – The History of England, Volume V
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract
Thomas Paine – Common Sense
Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 
Alexis De Tocqueville – Democracy in America
Aeschylus – Agamemnon
Sophocles – Oedipus the King
Euripides – Medea
Aristophanes – The Birds
Aristotle – Poetics 
Everyman (14th Century)
Christopher Marlowe – Doctor Faustus
William Shakespeare – Richard III
William Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare – Hamlet
Moliere – Tartuffe 
William Congreve – The Way of the World
Oliver Goldsmith – She Stoops to Conquer 
Richard Brinsley Sheridan – The School for Scandal 
Henrik Ibsen – A Doll’s House 
The Epic of Gilgamesh 
Homer – The Iliad and the Odyssey
Greek Lyricists 
Horace – The Odes 
Dante Alighieri – Inferno
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 
Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales
William Shakespeare – Sonnets 
John Donne 
King James Bible – Psalms 
John Milton – ParadiseLost 
William Blake – Songs of Innocence and of Experience 
Williams Wordsworth 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What I read in April

Here’s what I read in April…

I  already wrote here about my foray into these two

Rilla of Ingleside by LM Montgomery

Bonsai Conspiracy by Paul Anderson Walsh

I took a day to read  the latest Mary Higgins Clark paperback

I’ll Walk Alone
    I’ve said it before, I like reading fiction, at least a couple books a month, it keeps my reading speed up. If I spend all my time in non-fiction, it’s slow going. I liked this book, it was full of twists and turns and an unexpected ending.

Then I finished the Hunger Games Trilogy with

    I’d been given mixed reviews on this from friends. Those who didn’t like it, probably wanted a different “romantic” ending, but I kind of liked it. I like books that make me think even after I’ve finished it. This was one of those books. It made me reflect on our society today and where we’re headed in North America, how similar we are to Rome, etc. Very interesting (especially on the heels of  reading Rilla of Ingleside (WWI) and the Story of the World – The Fall of Rome in our history lessons.

I read

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Which i love the refresher on the teachings of Charlotte Mason who I think was a genius, far ahead of her time.

Then I read this doozy

Also interesting following the Story of the World and the role of Babylon through history and the Bible. Lot’s of intersting factoids.

I finished out the month with

I like to review this one every once and while to help me make the most of each season. This spring I’m inspired to try finally learn how to sew and to make nature notebooks with the kids. 🙂

It was a great month for reading!

Just arrived via UPS (eee!)

What I read in March…

Crazy Love…Francis Chan
Although I’ve heard great things about this, and have loved listening to FC teaching online, I had a hard time finishing this book. I don’t know if it’s because I read so many books last spring along similar topics or what, I just found it to be OK rather than the “amazing” I had expected.

The Ministry of Motherhood…Sally Clarkson

For me this book was very timely, and I wish I had read it 8 or 9 years ago when I was just starting out as a mom. Of course maybe I wouldn’t have been ready for it then, and it would have not found a willing heart to receive its message. For me, this one was almost a necessary read for this time of my life, and I will be reading it again and again.

Come Spring… Tim LaHaye
I enjoyed this short piece of fiction, although it is part of a series which i don’t have access to so I was disappointed that the story in this book didn’t come to a nice conclusion. I suspect that really it should have all been one book (due to it’s shortness and the simplicity of the read).
Days from the Heart of the Home… Susan Branch
I love Susan Branch and I have loved her books for years. They have been instrumental in inspiring me to embrace the seasons of the year and to express love for living within my home and family. I love that this one covers all four seasons.
Flash and Bones…Kathy Reichs
Great ficitional read, as always. I love that I couldn’t guess the killer until the end and always enjoy an afternoon of fiction in one of Kathy’s books.
The Strong Willed Child… James Dobson

Again, I wish I had read this when Lucas was a baby, it would have saved me so much grief. He is my strong willed child, at least now I have some tools to help me raise him more effectively and help him become the man he will be.

What I’ve Read in February…

What I read in February…

UnChristian… David Kinnaman

I found this book very challenging. It challenged how I see myself, how I see people who are “outside” the “church” and how I see the “church” itself. Full of very infuriating data about how Christians are perceived in our world, why it needs to change and how to change it. When I was finished, I had this remarkable sense of hope and a desire to make a change, in my life and hopefully having done that, see changes ripple across the vast body of Christ. Definitely will be referring this one, and reading it again.

The Magician’s Nephew… CS Lewis
Is there any need to elaborate. It’s by CS Lewis. It’s awesome. We’re reading our way through the Chronicles, though somewhat out of order. After that it’ll be Harry Potter. After that, Tokien probably.

The Hunger Games – Book 1… Suzanne Collins

I am looking forward to reading the next book. Blew through this one really quick, great story line.

Book of Negroes… Lawrence Hill

I loved this one too. I loved the fact that I read it during Black History Month. I was inspired by the truth in the story,
by the will of the people who were portrayed in this story. Amazing perseverence, fascinating history, especially loved the Canadian connection.

A Constant Princess… Phillipa Gregory
Phillipa is awesome. I enjoyed the fact that this story was much less explicit in the depictions of Henry, but I guess since it was his earlier days, it’s to be assumed.
Since I love history, it was a given I’d enjoy this easy read.

To Train Up a Child… Michael & Debi Pearl

Interesting perspective on parenting and discipline. Jury is still out for me.

The Beloved Disciple… Beth Moore
I had started this in January. Loved it, learned a lot of little nuances and tidbits both historically and spiritually.
Loved the way Beth weaved the lives of Jesus and all the disciples in with the timely message He came to give.Probably will need to read again as well.

Books Beside the Reading Lamp… (as in to be read next)

The Mission of Motherhood Sally Clarkson
Crazy Love… Francis Chan
The Hobbit… RR Tolkien
*For the Children’s Sake Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
*The Four Loves CS Lewis
Prince Caspian CS Lewis
*Boys Adrift Leonard Sax
*Rainbow Valley LM Montgomery

What I’ve Read in January… and a new adventure

Maintaining momentum when it comes to reading so far…

Amazonia – James Rollins
The Beloved Disciple – Beth Moore
Henry the VIII’s Last Wife – Carolly Erickson
Separation of Power – Vince Flynn
How to Get Kids to Help at Home – Elva Anson
Winter – Mary Engelbright
The Four Hour Body – Timothy Ferriss

Coming up next in no particular order:

The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill
*For the Children’s Sake – Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
A Constant Princess – Phillipa Gregory
*The Four Loves – CS Lewis
*Boys Adrift – Leonard Sax
*Rainbow Valley- LM Montgomery
*second or more reading

I figured here would be a good place to announce publicly (mostly to myself to keep me accountable) that I’ve decided to bring 2 major back burner projects up to FRONT burner status – effectively immediately.

ITEM ONE -Photobook Redo

The great “Computer virus of 2011” that caused the loss of a great deal of photos (about 3 years worth) which were stored on my computer and some photo books that took HOURS to compile (I watched my husband back them all up onto our external hard-drive before blowing the computer away…which later were irretrievable!!! It still pains me to think about… hence why I’ve avoided dealing with it for over 6 months.

Anyways, last week i got to work and…we’ve managed to salvage more than we originally thought!


1. Costco PhotoCenter is awesome was willing to import all the photos I had uploaded to their site
(Yay, it was ALOT of them) to a CD – I can have them in digital form again!

2. My bestest friend and photographer extraordinaire Jodi had given many of them to me via CD which I also found…

3. Facebook/Costco has a new feature, where you can save, upload print photos from the site! yay – has helped to fill in the gaps in some places where i lost photos but other friends took some – Happy Dance commence!

4. Creative Memories restored all my downloads and programs (thanks Val Esau for the advice). As well, they had my photobooks up to 2009 on file!!! yay – so I only lost one book (2010) which I managed to find all the pics for and can redo. The major holes I have are from January through July 2011 and I’m believing even that will turn out OK.

Soooo, that’s it, I’m redoing 2010 and then doing a version of 2011 too, as well, I may start 2012, since 2011’s may be a lot less labour intensive.


It’s time, I’m going to pull together all the notes I’ve jotted down through the years and as my second born would say… get er done. I haven’t determined if I shall utilize my blog in this process or not, so stay tuned, but either way – this idea that has had 5 long years to germinate is about to be cultivated. Hint, it’s about a different kind of garden…

Wish me luck 🙂

with love,