Sunday, August 28, 2016

52 Books in 52 Weeks Update

I had huge plans for the summer.  When I last updated about my reading challenge journey, I left you with this statement:

Now that summer is here, I hope to get in some grown up books.  These books are on my To Read List: Hands Free Life, Fear and Faith, Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat, Made to Crave, The Most Effective Way to Lead, 40 Days of Decrease, Beowulf, I am Malala (the adult version), Hold Me Like a Breath, Where I Am, and the Copper Gauntlet. 

I have to say, it was a complete failure.  

For whatever reason....laziness, unmotivated, busy with other things......I didn't read much of my summer reading list.  

Here's my newest update.....

Last year, I joined in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks reading challenge. I read 14 amazing books.  This year, I have now completed 14 books. Yes! I have met my reading list from last year, so there is room to blow right past it!

 For those of you looking for a few good books to read (or want to add to your kids' reading list), here's what I've completed in 2016 so far:

A book that cost less than $1
I cheated a bit. This book actually cost $1.  I loved it so much.  It was a life changer for how I view my ever-changing body compared to how Christ views me. 

A book given to me
This book was given to me by one of our church members.  She thought I might enjoy it, and she was so right.  There are so many things I have been able to use in conversation and Sunday school. Billy Graham says things so much better than I ever could...right, Leslie?

A book in a genre I don't typically read
The Iron Trial was a recommendation by a student in my class. He is really into stuff like this. I promised him I would read it. I did, and it wasn't too bad. I actually have the second book in my bag to read this summer.

A book recommended by someone I just met
One of my new students was reading If I Stay as her AR book. I asked her if it was any good, and she said yes, and then she told me I should read it.  I really liked the book. I watched the movie and did the ugly cry even though I knew what was going to happen.

 A book with a title that describes my life
LOVE this book. LOVE a good pair of jeans. LOVE Jesus.  

A book with a blue cover
I used this book in lit circles with my fifth graders. I read it beforehand and fell in love with it. The jaw dropping ending really got me.  Loved the movie too. Be sure you read the book before you watch the movie!

An autobiography
I am fascinated by Malala's story. After reading this, I used it for lit circles in my classroom. My students loved it. It was a wake up call for them because they had such a hard time believing that children in some countries aren't allowed an education like they are. 

 A book based in my town
The setting of this book is my hometown. Our librarian used this book in her Battle of the Books program a few years ago, and I fell in love with it.  All church goers (young and old) need to read this.  Its a story of forgiveness and how God works through all things. 

A book I haven't read since high school
I had forgotten how good this book was. I love that it is referenced in so many other pieces of literature.

A book I've already read at least once
This is another book used in our Battle of the Books program. To Kill a Mockingbird is referenced in this book, you'll have to read it to find out why.  I've always loved this book, but this year, after I completed it as a read aloud in my classroom, one of my autistic students said that he really liked it because it helps you understand how people think differently.  Score one for the teacher!

 A book published this year
A fellow Five Minute Friday Retreat friend wrote this wonderful book about trusting God even if He doesn't answer our prayers the way we want.  For anyone who has had trouble trusting Him, read this book.  Some people are bothered by the fact that Kaitlyn didn't go into extreme details in some of her stories, however, I don't think she needed to. I think we can all relate no matter what.

A book that's under 150 pages
This is an older book that I love and use as a read aloud in my classroom. It touches on bullying in a way that all of my students can relate. I love that it reinforces 2 facts: A) If you don't step up and stop bullying, you are just as guilty B)Bullying has negative effects

 A book written from a child's perspective
This is another book I used as a read aloud in class.   I love this book for so many reasons.  It is actually told from the perspective of a classroom of children and demonstrates the love their teacher had for them and the love they had for him.

A book thats more than 600 pages
I thought reading War and Peace was going to kill me! It took almost a year, but I did it though. I was proud of myself for not giving up although I wanted to at times. I was so excited about the mini series until they cancelled it right in the middle.

If you payed close attention, you'll see that I only added two books from my last update.  However, I've add many more books to my TO READ LIST!  Stacked up are Giddy Up, Eunice, Triggers, Uninvited, and One of the Few.  So many books! Where to start?  

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Riding in the Car with Boys

This week, I've had the opportunity to take my boys to school each morning.  Normally, I have one child with me, and Jeff takes the other two.  The drop off and pick up lines are not in my daily schedule.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my extra time in the car with the boys.  We've laughed and carried on.  We've discussed my sensitivity to the bass in TobyMac's music.  My boys have sang along with said TobyMac music.  We've talked about the day ahead and wished one another a great day at school. We've even improvised to make sunglasses for the blazing morning sun!

As I've enjoyed my time with the boys, my heart has cringed at what I've seen going on in other vehicles.  I've seen parents engrossed in their cell phones, either taking calls, checking Facebook, or playing games.  I've seen children with headphones on.  I've seen little to no interaction in many of these vehicles.

And as a teacher mama, I say this.... Parents, cherish these extra minutes with your children.  Take time to talk to them about their day.  Take time to laugh.  Pray with them.  Make these last few minutes enjoyable so your children get out of that car knowing they are cherished by you, that you'll miss them, that you wish them a fabulous day, and you can't wait to see them after school.

Our babies grow way to fast.  Society pushes and pulls at them.  They are involved in many extra curricular activities.  Our time with our children dwindles each day.  We need to make the most of each moment, even that extra 10 minutes in the car.

My challenge to you is week while you are chauffeuring your littles to and from school, put the cell phone away. Have your kids take the headphones off. Then talk. Sing. Pray. Be silly.  Spend time with your children.  I promise that you won't be sorry you did.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Team: Five Minute Friday on Sunday Afternoon

Are you new to Five Minute Friday?  This amazing community of writers comes together each week to share their hearts and words about a prompt given to us by Kate Motaung.  Writers have 5 minutes to share, no overthinking, no editing, just writing.

And sometimes we don't get to write on Friday, and it turns into Five Minute Sunday!

This week's prompt is TEAM.

In the past, there as been a section on the Parks and Rec form for sports sign ups that says, "What do you hope your child gains from playing on a team this year?"

I have always loved that.

I would write that I wanted my child to learn basics skills of the game and learn how to be part of team.

In reality, we are all part of team, no matter if it is on a ball field, in the workplace, at church, or at home.

We have to be able to relate to others.  We have to be able to communicate (both listen and speak - and the writer in me says "write too!").

In all of these places, we have a common goal.  We have to work together to reach that goal, and to do that, we have to be a team.

Our world is a mess because we aren't working as part of God's team.  He has called us to love, to serve, and to make disciples of all nations.  It isn't up to just the preachers, Sunday school teachers, or missions team.  It is up to us all.  If we all took our part seriously and worked side by side with other Christians, this world would be a totally different place.  As part of God's team, with Him as our coach, our leader, we can do anything within His will.  We have to have one heart with Him.

Thank you for joining me for my Sunday edition of Five Minute Friday.  Please, head over to Kate's blog to read what the FMF Community had to say about this week's prompt.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Happy: A Name to Live Up To - Five Minute Friday (On Sunday)

Meet Happy.  

Yes, this is our family cat.

He became a member of our family about 8 or 9 years ago.

He has a heck of a name to live up to.

Sometimes Happy is happy.  Especially when he attacks me as I'm walking up the stairs, walking across the room, or resting quietly.

Sometimes Happy isn't so happy.  Especially when I am taking too long to fill his food bowl or the neighborhood kids are searching for him when they come to visit.

I guess it is hard to live up to his name all the time.

Like us....are we always happy?

No. Its an emotion. And as a woman, I can tell you that I have been on plenty of those emotional rollercoasters.

But as a Christian, I have a name to live up to.  And to live up to that name - Christian - I don't choose happiness.....I choose joy.

You see, my joy comes from the Lord.

My husband made me happy when he brought home Panda Express Friday night.

But my joy comes from knowing that Christ is with me always and He will meet me right where I am.

It isn't always possible to be happy, but it is possible to always be joyful.  I can find joy in my deepest sorrows.  How?  Because I know Christ.

Thank you for joining me today (Sunday) for my Five Minute Friday post.  Be sure you head to Kate's to read more amazing thoughts on this week's prompt HAPPY.  And best of all......

there is a giveaway and news about the Five Minute Friday book.

Yes!  Our favorite Five Minute Friday posts are being published!!  You definitely don't want to miss out on it!