My 2015 Reading List

The other day someone asked me if I had written anything lately. “No,” I replied. “With a four year old and a one year old I can’t seem to find the time to focus.” Someday I will have time to write again, but right now I am just living the life that I will write about in the future. Right now I’m storing up my stories and ideas.

I have, however, made time to read some books. Some of them I have actually listened to on Audible, in audio book form, as I’ve been driving in the car or doing the dishes, but either way I have consumed a handful of books over the past fourteen months and wanted to share because I always appreciate when other people share their book lists. Most of what I’ve read I heard about from someone I know.

You’ll quickly notice a theme in my reading. Currently, my reading/listening is focused on material that helps me to make the most of the season that I’m in. I hope you find something you might like. I would have liked to include a short review for each book, but…like I said, I don’t have much time to write. However, I can say that I would recommend every book on this list.

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Loving The Little Years: Motherhood In The Trenches, by Ranchel Jankovic

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Stronghold, by Beth Kinder

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Christ In The Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood, by Kimm Crandall

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Grace-Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel

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Bringing Up Girls, by Dr. James Dobson
*In my opinion, Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson was a much better book.

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Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High, by Patterson- Grenny – McMillan- Switzler

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Love & Respect, by Emmerson Eggerichs

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Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids, by Jack Klumpenhower

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For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, by Shaunti Feldhahn

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Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, by Ben Carson, M.D.

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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery, by David G. Benner

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Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, by Ruth Soukup

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Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money, by Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze

 

I’m currently reading:

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Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load, by Jen Hatmaker

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Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy, by Gary Thomas

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The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart For Eternity, by Sally Clarkson

 

And Next in Line To Read:

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Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, by Dan Kindlon, Michael Thompson

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Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and my Soul, by Jennie Allen

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Approaching Labor

This pregnancy has been a bull ride.  Which is why you haven’t heard much from me for the past, oh five, six, seven, eight months.  With one hand on the bull and the other trying to keep track of a toddler, I haven’t had enough free hands for typing for a long while.

Today I am just under two weeks away from my due date on September 24th.  September 21st is the date that I miscarried during my second pregnancy.  September 18th is my birthday and the date that I began the miscarrying process.  So the coming weeks are full of significant dates for me.  To me, it’s not as much coincidental or ironic that this baby is due around the same time that I miscarried last year, as it is redemptive.  Of course I’m praying that she would be born on either the 18th or the 21st because I love redemptive stories, but regardless, God’s faithful hand is on this entire event and He knows when baby girl should and will be born.

This pregnancy, like I stated, has been a bull ride.  Some days I’ve felt incredible – kind of like a super woman when I’ve been sweating it out at the gym or keeping up on projects around the house or doing something adventurous with my son.  However, plenty of other days, and probably more of them then the super-feeling ones, have been incredibly difficult.  There’s a good chance I just blocked a lot of it out the first time around, but I truly don’t remember pregnancy being so hard physically when I was pregnant with Cameron.  A lot of it probably had to do with sitting at a desk all day at work and being able to rest every evening while my husband cooked dinner instead of scurrying around to finish household tasks and wrangle a squirmy toddler into his bed every night.  Yeah, that could have something to do with it.

That being said though, I am fortunate.  I haven’t had any pregnancy complications or anything abnormal.  Just a lot of the normal pregnancy symptoms that are difficult to endure over a long spread of nine months.  Of course the nausea, headache and fatigue in the beginning months.  Then the belly aches, cramping and the acid reflux that set in.  Then the back aches.   At one point, my skin itched so badly every night that I couldn’t sleep.  Waking up every morning for the past eight months having only five minutes to get something into my stomach before I feel sick – yep, can’t wait for that one to go.  Someday soon I’ll eat again because I’m actually hungry, rather than to stave off nausea.  Now, in the final stretch, I’m getting weird nerve pinches in the lower half of my body and I literally feel like the baby is between my legs when I’m walking around.  Getting up to use the restroom seven times a night wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to roll myself off the bed like an elephant seal flopping towards the water.  And lastly, there have been times where I’ve just had a real winner of a personality.  Enough so that on more than a few occasions I have closed the door to my room and taken fifteen minutes by myself because I’ve recognized the boiling pot of hormonal imbalance inside of me and decided it was in the best interest of everyone around me that I take a little timeout to let the emotions fizzle out as I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook.

But with labor approaching, I’ve actually found that this last week has been one of my best.  Maybe it’s because I know that this entire pregnancy journey is truly almost over and I’m already beginning to feel giddy about that.  In the half marathon that I ran last year, the last two miles were the easiest and most exciting because I knew I had already completed the bulk of the work and I could see the finish line floating on the horizon.  So I turned up my music and just jammed my way to the finish line, legs wobbling and arms swinging around.  And whether you believe me or not, I can honestly say that training for and running a half marathon is SO much easier than completing a pregnancy – both mentally and physically.  In fact, I’ll take a full marathon over pregnancy any day!

I’ve definitely been preparing for this labor differently than I did my first labor with Cameron.  For my first labor I read a lot of crunchy books and decided that I was going to prepare for the most calm birthing experience possible.  I decked out my hospital room in white Christmas lights to set a nice mood-enhancing glow.  I comprised a few different playlists of worship music that would carry me through each contraction.  I came prepared with a soft labor gown and fuzzy socks to help complete my cozy hospital stay.  This time, while I do plan to incorporate each of these items in my labor experience, I will also be showing up to the hospital ready to kick down the door because I’m going to have AC/DC’s Thunderstruck playing as my mental theme song and more adrenaline pumping through my over-sized body than a seventeen year old boy on steroids.  If it wouldn’t result in judgement and possibly sub-par medical treatment or arrest, I might even show up with my face streaked in war paint and a club of fire to start waving around at everybody.  This time, while I may be wearing fuzzy socks, I am coming prepared for an all out war, followed by a peaceful flood of emotion as I get to finally hold my daughter.

If this sounds a little over the top or exaggerated to you, then you have either A) never given birth or B) had better labors than me in the past and I therefore envy your experience.  My labor with Cameron was 24 hours, my miscarriage labor was 4 hours and I am just hoping and praying that this coming labor falls a bit closer to the 4 than to the 24 hour mark.  I’ve been drinking that delicious Third Trimester tea for months now and popping those red raspberry leaf capsules daily as well so hopefully my uterus is nice and toned like the box of tea promises it will be…but soon enough I will be finding out for sure how my daughter plans to enter this world.  She will either come out to a tune of clanging gongs and birds chirping or she will always have a strange, yet powerful affection for AC/DC and probably never know why.

Here are some cute pictures from the nursery and where I found some of these items – This is by far my favorite room in the house right now, which will hopefully help me feel all sunny during all those 3 a.m. hangouts with my girl.

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Dresser: yard sale (and my super cool husband reconstructed it into this masterpiece of femininity!), Changing pad cover: Iviebaby.com, Mirror: thrift store,  Arrow sign: World Market.  And I am still missing one key piece of art to hang in that gap on the wall.

photo (13)Dresser hardware: Home Depot

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Mobile: re purposed a Christmas tree ornament and painted some brown tags from Michael’s gold, Canvas: spray painted it baby pink and then splattered gold paint.

photo (7)Nightlight: bought this strand of lights on Amazon and then put in a jar from the dollar store

photo (8)Elephant bank: Thrift store, Squares: Target spice racks painted white, Flameless candles: Costco

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Shelves: Ikea spice racks painted white, Lamp: Target (with a soft pink bulb – they are my favorite and create perfect soft lighting), Hamper: 3Sprouts (bought on Amazon)

photo (10)Couch: Ikea (Craigslist find), Ottoman: Ikea (gift from a friend), Ottoman fabric: Spoonflower.com, Rug: Ikea, Side table/stool: Ikea and spray painted pink, Pillows: yardsale but originally Target, Wicker dresser: Bed Bath & Beyond

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Crib: bought second hand, but painted gray a few years ago for Cam’s nursery…took 9 hours…so I don’t recommend painting a crib unless you feel like tackling a long, long, tedious project, Crib skirt: queen bed skirt from Bed Bath & Beyond that used to be on my bed, Crib sheet: Circo brand from Target (probably the softest/fuzziest sheet in the world!) White crocheted blanket: made by my aunt, Coral blanket: made by my grandma

Oops! Important Notice For Email Subscribers

For those of you who get my most recent blog posts sent directly to your email inboxes, I wanted to inform you that the post from yesterday afternoon titled “I Wasn’t Born A Homemaker” was accidentally sent out before it was ready to be made public.

If you read this post, it was an unfinished, unedited draft and I plan to make many changes to it before I actually publish it.

I’m sorry for any confusion or for anything within the content of the writing that seemed off.

Sincerely,

Erin

Is That A Gel Pedicure? Nope!

nail polish

This is a simple post.  I’m just sharing what my favorite nail top coat is.  I’ve been using it for years, but recently I’ve had a few people comment on my toe polish and ask me if I had a gel pedicure.  I hadn’t – this polish is just really, really shiny and it actually does dry in just a few minutes like the bottle says.

I’ve bought it before at CVS and Target, but I’m sure you can find it a lot of other places as well.

That’s all!

Taking Care of Kids

Thank you Charles Spurgeon for saying this.

Some days when I feel like, “All I did was keep my child alive today,” I feel tempted to discredit my day.  I didn’t really do anything.

But this is the voice of culture, not of God speaking.  My culture tells me that things like money, career, stability, fashion, automobiles, social outings, keeping busy, vacations and my social media presence are all more important than the simple and sometimes mundane tasks of giving my family quality care and my attention.  And honestly, some days those things sound a lot more exciting than the tasks  that can start to feel like drudgery if I’m not careful to keep a right perspective.

Despite what my culture tells me, there is great worth in God’s eyes when I invest my life into my children and my family.  While my kids are little ones, there is no greater priority than their care and upbringing.

If I invest now, I will reap the benefits later.

If I make other things my priority now, I will be investing later to try and undo the damage I did when they were young.

Today I am taking care of Cameron along with a 4 month old and a 3 year old.  Tomorrow I am doing the same thing.  The next 48 hours of my life are going to consist of diapers and sweeping crumbs off the kitchen floor, playing with toys and then picking them up again and again.  I hope to go on a walk this afternoon so we can all get some fresh air.

Right now there are many things that sound more relaxing, exciting and even possibly fulfilling, but Lord, help me make my home into a grand and glorious church where your Spirit can work among us.  Make my white-washed apartment walls glimmer and gleam like stained glass and may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O my God.

A Mom’s Balancing Act

I have some very exciting news to share!  You can now find me blogging at A Mom’s Balancing Act sharing guest posts and product reviews!  I am extremely excited about this opportunity so I hope you’ll check it out sometime.

Jenna also has a lot of giveaways on her blog so if you love giveaways you will like what she does.

I started my blog two years ago after attending a morning prayer meeting at my church.  I’ve always loved to write.  In elementary school  and middle school my journals were my most sacred possessions.  In high school, along with journaling, I wrote poems and song lyrics and stored them in shoe boxes on the top shelf in my closet.  I swore if anyone ever found them that I would move far far away.  Before I moved to California I cleaned out my closet and I ripped those notebook pages up into a million pieces because they weren’t very good and they reminded me of all sorts of things I didn’t feel the need to remember anymore.

So two years ago at the prayer meeting, I told God that I really wanted to write more often and I wanted people to hear about him through my writing.  Blogging was still growing in popularity and at the time it seemed like a nerdy thing to do, so I very cautiously decided to start a blog. I wondered if it would be very good or if years later I would feel embarrassed by it and want to rip up the pages again, or in this case, delete them.

Over the past two years I feel like my writing has improved with practice and I’ve had a lot of fun expressing myself and sharing bits and pieces of my life.  Sometimes this blog has helped me process important happenings and milestones or it’s served as something to take my mind off being pregnant.  It’s been a digital journey of a sweet period in my life that I’m glad is documented more than I would have been able to on paper. Writing with a pen and paper is nostalgic, but it’s extremely time consuming and because I’m a bit of a perfectionist the idea of crossing things out and erasing makes me cringe.

So all that being said, I’m glad I started and continued my blog.  During certain seasons I’ve backed off from publishing anything because it’s easy to get wrapped up in accomplishments and sometimes its better to not worry about things like posting another blog or checking another email or Facebook.  Sometimes it’s better for me and my family if I just forget about technology for a while.  It’s good for my heart too at times.  At other times, the keyboard and a good cup of coffee create a sort of sanctuary that I feel so comfortable in.

So thanks for reading this blog, whether you know me personally or whether you stumbled across it online.  It’s fun to share the journey.

I hope you’ll be a part of this next step at A Mom’s Balancing Act too!  (And yes, I will still be posting here as well!)