Have I forgotten that I have this thing called a “blog?!” Good gracious, things have been busy around here lately!

We’ve had our fair share of both exciting/happy situations and difficult/stressful ones…as I’m sure each and every person reading this could say, as well. God has shown Himself faithful over the last few crazy months as we’ve dealt with financial stresses, some disappointing news, sickness that comes along with having a family, and attending a loved one’s funeral while preparing our hearts for another one that appears to be imminent.

While standing grave-side this past weekend at Tanner’s grandmother’s funeral, I thanked God for the very powerful reminder that life is short. There are days that seem long. Seasons that seem like they’ll never improve. I’m slowly realizing the truth in what my mom often says…the days are often long, but the years are short. Last weekend, as everyone gathered ’round this precious woman’s casket, the previously clouded sky gave way to sunshine for the first time that foggy day. And I couldn’t help but recognize what a gift that ray of sunshine was. A visual reminder that even amidst sadness and death, God’s love still shines through the darkness, warming our hearts like a ray of sunshine warms our faces.

If you know me well, you know that I love to read. Books are like medicine for my heart and soul. Tanner just asked me last week what my long-term plan is for storing all of the books that accumulate in this house. We laughed and said we may need re-enforced floor beams to house them all! My Amazon.com book wish-list grows longer each week, and it’s been such a treat to find some of the same books at thrift stores that were on my Amazon wish-list. I’ve picked up several for just a few cents lately! I thought I’d share with you a few of the books I’m reading now. I’d love to hear what you’re reading!

Redefine Rich (A New Perspective on the Good Life) by Matt Ham
This book does not actually release until later next week. However, I “happened” upon the author’s blog a few months ago and fell in love with his philosophy of life. I pre-ordered the book, which included immediate access to the Kindle version. I’m not much of a Kindle reader (I prefer an actual paper book!), but what I’ve read so far has been spot-on and deeply encouraging.

What actually spurred the purchase of this book was recent conversations with my 7-year old. She’s been asking lots of questions that we’ve not dealt with in our parenting adventure thus far. Questions like, “Why do lots of people have big houses? I want a big house…can we get a big house?” “Lots of kids from school are going on vacation for Christmas break. Why haven’t we ever gone on a vacation?” “That’s a really pretty house (while driving around to look at Christmas lights). Are they rich?”  In an effort to guide our children correctly through some of those tough questions, I’m excited to read this author’s thoughts. And to be completely honest, I need this more than my children do…because sometimes those questions creep into my heart, as well.

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
This book caught my eye at a Scholastic warehouse sale last week. I’m only a few chapters into it, but I love it so far! In a nutshell, Alice’s book-loving father made a promise to read aloud to her every day for at least 100 days. They loved it so much that 100 days turned into 1,000 days, which turned into over 9 years of reading aloud together. Every.Single.Night. And that makes my heart smile! What a legacy! Something magical happens through the reading of books as well as time spent together with loved ones. I can’t wait to implement some of her strategies into our home!

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
This author writes a very interesting journal-type book about her journey to living a life free of distractions. Again, I’m not very far along in this book either, but so far I’ve enjoyed (and been extremely convicted about) her thoughts about the distracted lives we often live. It’s been good to examine my priorities and learn to savor life more than simply rush through it.

An Everlasting Meal (Cooking With Economy and Grace) by Tamar Adler
This book has gotten rave reviews from “foodie” type personalities. While it’s definitely not exactly what I thought it would be, I’m enjoying the practical tips she shares about being graceful and frugal in the kitchen. Written by a very prominent chef, I love that she’s very down to earth and recognizes the beauty in simplicity. I walk away from it feeling ready to conquer my kitchen!

How about you, friend?? Do you like to read as much as I do? I’d LOVE to hear some of your all-time favorite reads, or which books are on your nightstand right now. Feel free to comment on here, or comment on the blog link on Facebook. I might add your favorites to my wish-list!