Sunday, January 13, 2019

100 Books of 2018

In 2009, I pledged to read 100 books over the course of 2010. Here's my list of 107 books in case you're interested.

I did it again in 2011 (why not?). Here's my list of 109 books.

The tradition continued in 2012 where I read a whopping 144 books! Here is my list from that year.

In 2013 I kept on chugging along, reading 104 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2014 I hit my best record yet, reading 152 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2015 I beat my record, reading 187 books. Here is my list from that year. 

In 2016, I read 166 books, focusing on books I owned but had never read.Here is my list from that year.

In 2017, I read 123 books. Here is my list from last year.

This year, my main goal of the year was to get out and meet more people. I'd say I accomplished that goal - unfortunately, I also read way less because we were gone more than ever! I am keeping my blog title "100 Books of 2018" even though that's false, because I want to be able to find this post next year! So, here is my reading list from 2018, a mere 54 books. Looks like I have some catching up to do! Good news - I have officially completed reading every fiction book I have ever owned. I kept, I think, about 6 fiction books on my shelf. So if I recommend a fiction book to you, just know that it's really, really good.

Here you go:

  • "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly (54)
  • "Collateral Damage" by Stuart Woods (53)
  • "Christ All Sufficient" by Brian Hedges (52)
  • "The Resurrection Fact" edited by John Bombaro and Adam Francisco (51)
  • "Insatiable Appetites" by Stuart Woods (50)
  • "Deadly Proof" by Rachel Dylan (49)
  • "Intercessory Prayer" by Dutch Sheets (48)
  • "Parenting Isn't for Cowards" by James Dobson (47)
  • "Lucia, Lucia" by Adriana Trigiani (46)
  • "Megashift" by James Rutz (45)
  • "Reckless Devotion" by Heidi and Rolland Baker (44)
  • "Longing for More" by Timothy Willard (43)
  • "Orange is the New Black" by Piper Kerman (42)
  • "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg (41)
  • "Blind Betrayal" by Nancy Mehl (40)
  • "The Healthy Living Handbook" by Laura Harris Smith (39)
  • "The House on Foster Hill" by Jaime Jo Wright (38)
  • "In the Grip of Grace" by Max Lucado (37)
  • "Life-Changing Miracles" by James Stuart Bell (36)
  • "Jesus and the Beanstalk" by Lori Stanley Roeleveld (35)
  • "Season of the Machete" by James Patterson (34)
  • "Identity Thief" by Robby Dawkins (33)
  • "It Takes So Little to be Above Average" by Florence Littauer (32)
  • "Singing the Scriptures" by Julie Meyer (31)
  • "Run Before the Wind" by Stuart Woods (30)
  • "Real-Life Romance" by Rhonda Stoppe (29)
  • "Do Greater Things" by Robby Dawkins (28)
  • "Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love" by John Crotts (27)
  • 'Growing Kids With Character" by Hettie Brittz (26)
  • "Grace Revealed" by Fred Sievert (25)
  • "Flee the Darkness" by Grant Jeffrey (24)
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll (23)
  • "God Came Near" by Max Lucado (22)
  • "Financial Peace" by Dave Ramsey (21)
  • "Flee the Darkness" by Grant Jeffrey (20)
  • "936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting" by Eryn Lynum (19)
  • "From This Day Forward" by Lauraine Snelling (18)
  • "Landmines in the Path of the Believer" by Charles Stanley (17)
  • "Bible Studies on Mark" by William Boekestein (16)
  • "Influence" by Robert Cialdini (15)
  • "Gifted Mind" by Jeff Kinley (14)
  • "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gates Gill (13)
  • "Hearts Entwined" by Various Authors (12)
  • "Counseling Under the Cross" by Bob Kellemen (11)
  • "Becoming a Disciple Making Church" by Neil T. Anderson (10)
  • "The Melody of the Soul" by Liz Tolsma (9)
  • "Seeds of Hope" by Barbara Cameron (8)
  • "Ekklesia" by Ed Silvoso (7)
  • "The Million-Dollar One-Person Business" by Elaine Pofeldt (6)
  • "Sacred Rest" by Saundra Dalton-Smith (5)
  • "The Roanoke Girls" by Amy Engel (4)
  • "The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life" by Jeremy Pierre (3)
  • "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere (2)
  • "D.C. Dead" by Stuart Woods (1)

Books that I gushed about: The Resurrection Fact by John Bombardo, 936 Pennies by Eryn Lynum, Ekklesia by Ed Silvoso, Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Chapter books I read with the kids: 

  • "Indian Ghost Mystery" by Bonnie Highsmith Taylor (7)
  • "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window" by Lemony Snicket (6)
  • "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room" by Lemony Snicket (5)
  • "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket (4)
  • "Ms. Sue Has No Clue!" by Dan Gutman (3)
  • "Esio Trot" by Roald Dahl (2)
  • "Owls in the Family" by Farley Mowat (1)

Any good reads of YOURS this year? I'd love to have the titles and authors of some of your favorite reads so I can look into them!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Scout Spring Camping Trip 2018

It's been a LOOOOOOOONG time since I did a real "life" post. I keep telling myself I want to sit down and journal more, but I don't set aside the time. I'm determined to do this more often because although I'd prefer a handwritten journal, this is going to be much faster for me, and I love posting pictures and videos along with my reactions. I want the kids to be able to look back at these posts in a few years and revive these memories.

Last October was Hunter's first ever camping trip with Cub Scouts. Brianna and I stayed at home and let the boys have their boy time, but the truth is, I really love camping, and Bri loved the idea of it as well, so when the spring campout came around, I was determined for our whole family to go. I'm so glad we did! We had the best time! It was the first time I had been camping in probably 15 years, and obviously I had never been with the entire family, so it was a really awesome experience.

Here we go!

Within minutes of setting up, the kids were off in the woods, blazing trails and already creating games. The parents kind of looked at each other, not knowing what to do with our free time. It didn't take us long to figure out we just needed to pull up our chairs, grab a drink, and start getting to know one another with no worries of what our kids were doing.

Ahhh, this is the life! We should go camping more often!

The first evening was really just spent that same way - adults just hanging out, getting camp set up, and kids exploring throughout the acres of camp. Due to us being at a scout camp, we felt pretty confident that there wasn't much trouble they could get into. They were reminded to stay within earshot of the camp site, and I'm pleased to announce we had no issues of kids running off and getting lost (that I know of - but doing a head count wasn't up to me - just kidding!) There were probably 40 or 50 kids, and plenty of acres to occupy their different games and activities.

Once it got dark, we broke out the bonfire. All kids were required to have a flashlight or headlamp, so they could sit by the fire and relax, or continue playing in the woods. It didn't take me long to become comfortable with my 7 and 9-year old kiddos freely running through the dark woods with just a headlamp on. At some point you just have to turn the "what-if" part of your brain off.

It didn't take long for Bri and this young man, Lucas, to become friends, much to Stephen's chagrin. Haha!

Why is my child wearing sunglasses at night? The world will never know...

At 10:00, it was lights out, so we started getting ourselves ready for bed. We knew the next day would be a long one, and we wanted to get plenty of sleep.

Either someone's really excited, or the flash surprised her

After a good night's sleep, we woke up early to the Bears cooking a great breakfast! Pancakes, sausage, and fruit were our fuel for the day.

Bri with her 2 other "musketeers" - "T" and Lucas. You'll notice them in most of the pictures with her.

Getting ready for morning routine which includes the flag ceremony and laying out the plan for the day

After the flag ceremony, we were told for all the younger scouts under Webelo rank it was time to go bouldering. As you can imagine, this excited our kids GREATLY. They love rock climbing, rappelling and bouldering, so this was right up their alley!

After about an hour and a half of this (Brianna and Hunter climbed the walls more than any other kid - probably a dozen or more times), we headed back to camp. It was almost lunchtime, so we actually headed to the truck and left camp while everyone else was eating lunch. We headed back to Warner Robins for Hunter's soccer game! So as if he wasn't already worn out enough from playing and bouldering all morning, now he had a soccer game in the mid-day heat! But he rocked it, as usual, and the Broncos continue their undefeated season!

The camp we stayed at was Ottawa - right in between Cherokee and Natchez camps.

When we got back, the Tigers (that's Hunter's den) were working on some belt loop achievements. We went to find them and they were doing artwork with nature. These may be kind of hard to see, but these are some of their creations:
Bri's was also a stick figure portrait

After the boys were done with their artwork, we headed to a nearby field to play a game. It was up to the kiddos to create a game, and we would play kids vs. adults. They ended up creating some mixture of kickball and soccer, where the adults couldn't do ANYTHING but kick the ball, and kids could do absolutely anything they wanted! I'm pretty sure this game was rigged from the beginning! It was actually a ton of fun and I quickly regretted going for a mile-long run earlier that morning, as one of the kids singled me out and I had to run fast and furious multiple times to get away with my pride intact! At the end of the day it was a great game, and we had an awesome time playing with some great kids.

Soon after that, it was time for "saber wars" which meant the kids created their own light sabers out of pool noodles. It was time for battle! The kids went crazy with the pool noodles in a setting with no time limit and no rules. It was very interesting! After a while we stopped them and had them get ready for Crack the Crackers, or something like that. Basically each kid got saltine crackers taped to their shirt sleeves and sides of pants, and that's what you aim for on everyone else. Whoever is the last man standing with no cracked crackers is the winner!

Making the trek back to camp

After a full afternoon of running and games, we headed back to camp. I think about 3% of the campers took this opportunity to sit down in a chair and relax. The other 97% realized they had some free time, and took off to the woods again. It was so funny to hear some of the games these kids came up with. One night someone was Jesse James and the cops were coming to get him. One kid played an entire hockey game with a stick and a pinecone, while another boy was the commentator for the game. They played football and frisbee, and discovered every possible trail throughout the woods. They played Red Rover a lot, but I think cops and robbers was the main game I heard them play.

We did pull them all back together after a while for a couple of rounds of Tug of War - and the adults got in on it at the end!

Here's Bri's team winning:

 And here's Hunter's team winning:

It wasn't long until it was time for dinner - pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, and peach cobbler in a Dutch oven! I'm telling you, I could get used to this camping stuff.

After dinner, the kids played for so long they didn't even ask for smores until about 9:30. We were going to offer them around 8:00, but they were having such a great time, and no kid was talking about dessert, we figured we would let it ride!

Eventually it was time for bed. I know the kids didn't really want to go to bed, but at the same time they were worn out from the day's events. Tigers (Hunter's den) were responsible for breakfast, so that meant early rising for those kids!

Serving breakfast like champs!

Clean up duty means getting in a line and checking every square inch of our camp site after church. Leave no trace!

Time to go home - I was trying to get a picture of just how dirty he was, but it didn't come through here!

The kiddos together and the kids telling scary stories around the campfire (Bri is being her typical motherly self here)

But the adults had it the roughest of all....

Great success, and thank you to all of WR Pack 422! It's been a great year!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Million Dollar, One Person Business (Review)

This review is for the book "The Million-Dollar One-Person Business" by Elaine Pofeldt. If you are a small business owner, an entrepreneur, or someone who has even considered going down this route, you have GOT to get your hands on this book. It is slam full of awesome ideas and suggestions. The book has dozens of examples of what has worked and what hasn't worked for other small business owners and entrepreneurs. There are hundreds of resources in here for creating websites, making things easier on you, email accounts, freebies that you are going to want, etc. And tons of encouragement for making it through the first few years.

This book is underlined and highlighted all the way through for me! So much goodness in one space. It was really helpful. I definitely recommend it.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for a copy of the book.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Seeds of Hope (Review)

This review is for the book "Seeds of Hope" by Barbara Cameron. I really enjoy the genre of Amish fiction and this book really did not disappoint. It had all the great elements of a romance novel and was still unique and held my interest.

Miriam and Mark grew up together, but only because Mark spent some summers at his Amish grandfather's farm working. There really isn't any hope for a relationship between the two of them considering he is English and she is Amish. Unfortunately for Mark, his big-time lawyer position is in jeopardy. Fortunately for Miriam, that means he is spending a lot more time at his grandfather's farm. It doesn't take long for them to realize there are feelings between them. But Mark wouldn't dare leave his law firm and his whole life in the city, right?

I loved the characters in this book and the easygoing pace of the story. There wasn't a lot of drama or anything like that. It's just a feel-good read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sacred Rest (Review)

This review is for the book "Sacred Rest" by Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D. I will just go ahead and say this is one of the best books I have read in the last year. I needed this book so badly and didn't even realize it.

The book begins with why we need rest. It is crucial for our bodies, minds, emotions, spirituality, our creativity, and even for the social aspect. Then the book talks about the gift of rest and how we can come to that place. It might be setting boundaries and telling people no. It might be taking a break to do literally nothing. It might be figuring out the love language for your family members.

I'm telling you, this book is so well written. It's like she could see into my head and my heart to know what I needed! I am in love with this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of this book.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Roanoke Girls (Review)

This review is for the book "The Roanoke Girls" by Amy Engel. Okay, if you are into twisted, dark, gothic stories with horrible secrets that unfold, you will enjoy this book. I'm telling you what, there is something about the Roanoke girls that makes them different from everyone else... and when you find out what it is, you will probably do a double take. I literally started flipping backwards in the book to make sure I was reading correctly when I figured it out. This is a crazy story but the storyline and characters will absolutely suck you in. A must read.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for a copy of the book.

Unimaginable (Review)

This review is for the book "Unimaginable" by Jeremiah J. Johnston. Now, don't tell me that title alone doesn't get you excited to read this book. What a startling thought, that really just gives me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The book begins with the earliest religions, and how they spanned across cultures and civilizations. One chapter goes over the aspect of how suffering and healing go together. It wasn't that long ago that people's longevity was quite short. People were desperate for healing, particularly because medical knowledge was so limited. Johnston points out that people in these times were also usually afraid of death because they didn't know what to think of an afterlife. So this may have been why Jesus was followed so frequently - his healings and raising people from the dead made him quite popular!

I could go on and on about each chapter in this book but that would make this review too long and may spoil the book. This book is a phenomenal mix of history and theology. I don't save too many books to go on my shelf, but this one made the cut.

Thank  you to Cross Focused Reviews for a copy of the book.

Melody of the Soul (Review)

This review is for the book "Melody of the Soul" by Liz Tolsma. This book is set in the 1940s and in it, we meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian who lives in Prague. She has lost most of her family due to deportation, and though she still lives with her grandmother, she is unable to perform as a violinist due to the Nazi laws. She really isn't even supposed to play the violin anymore at all, and is afraid she is going to lose that privilege when a Nazi officer begins renting the space below her. Fortunately for her, he enjoys the music, as well as her company, it turns out. He's also finding that he doesn't agree with the Nazi ideology anymore.

I really enjoyed this book. I like books that have a bit of history involved in them. I really liked the characters and found their conversations flowing and easy to follow. If you enjoy historical romances, this will be right up your alley. I did appreciate the glossary of foreign words, which included some Czech and German words used throughout the book. After seeing them a couple of times it was very easy to familiarize myself with them.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

  melody pin2

Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don't miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna's flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz's prize pack giveaway!

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Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!