Faith & FamilyMarch Book Club March 6, 2018 For as long as I can remember, I have loved the written word. Growing up, I could get lost in a good book for days on end. Stories consume my thoughts until I know the ending and I’ve long loved spending my days in foreign times and lands. As a child and even in my early adult years, fiction was all that could capture my attention. And while I still love a good fiction book, I’ve broadened my horizons lately. Once I began working several jobs at once (teaching and building the blog), the time for reading petered out and I really got out of the habit. But in this last year, I’ve been drawn to it again. I think that stems from several things. In some ways, I just missed it! I longed for it to be a part of my world again. Reading is restorative to the heart and soul like few other things are and I came to realize that I had to make a place for it in my life, even though life is incredibly busy these days. But the books I’m drawn to now are different in some ways and I think that has a lot to do with my season of life. Now, I’m drawn to books I can learn from and not simply escape or be entertained as I used to. There is much less time for reading than there used to be, so while I’m hoping to fit some fun fiction into my reading list this year, I was initially drawn back to reading to equip me for my current life and tasks at hand. I also think Rosie’s age has a lot to do with it. It is so important for us that our children love learning and reading is a big part of that. While she’s young and we aren’t pushing anything academic on her now, books have grown to be a large part of our everyday. Quickly, I’ve started to realize the poor quality of some of the childrens’ books we had, both in beauty and in words. It’s important that we’re reading living books with her. Books that first, come to life with beautiful narrative and descriptions that evoke questions and cause us to wonder. And also books that are beautifully illustrated. Our children’s view and understanding of beauty comes through what they’re exposed to and I’m determined that the books we read will foster that as well. As reading has taken a firm place in my world again, I’ve shared some of the books I’ve read that have been especially formative of our life and vision for the future. And I’ve always gotten so many questions from readers and followers on social media! One of my personal goals for 2018 was to read a book each month, maybe even a few. I wanted to read a variety…more nonfiction to equip me for life, but also some fiction worked in. Much of what I’m reading has a lot to do with things that are important to us now, like our simple living journey, things that I have been and will continue to share more about here. So, I decided to start a little monthly book club here on the blog! It will be super informal, just a way for me to share what I’m reading and learning and what Rosie is reading. Early each month, I’ll share a review of what we read that month for y’all and a look ahead at what we’re planning to read the next month! With this being our first month, no reviews today. Instead, I’ll share the few we’re focusing on this month and the review will come early April! First up is what I’ll be reading! My big goal with my monthly choices is variety. I want to learn about different things that are important to us now. As y’all know, we’ve been more and more drawn to simple living this past year. We’re currently living in a smaller house and we’re continually learning more and evaluating what this looks like for us. So for me, there have been two books that have come highly recommended about living simply that I can’t wait to read and review for you! I shared about Simplicity Parenting on Instagram a week or so ago. I’ve already started this one, but have a bit left in it so I won’t review it for you yet. But I will say that it was exactly what we’re craving and so far, has put a lot of words and facts and action steps to pulls we were feeling as parents. The tag line of the book gives you a glimpse to what it’s about: USING THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF LESS TO RAISE CALMER, HAPPIER, MORE SECURE KIDS. It targets several different areas to simplify: the environment, rhythm, schedules, to name a few. I’ll share more about our take-aways from it next month once I’ve finished it, but I will say that it’s not only shaped how we view parenting, but also our home and life in general. This book is written by Kim John Payne, a private family counselor with extensive experience in the need to simplify life in the face of our fast-paced, overwhelming culture. It is not a faith-based book, however much I’ve read so far has resonated with our faith. I don’t have as much to share about Freedom in Simplicity , as I haven’t started it yet. But it’s come highly recommended to me for those interested in the value of a simpler life. It’s written by a pastor, Richard J. Foster, so it does it is from a Christian perspective. I’m so excited to start it once I finish Simplicity Parenting. I’m also planning to read Fearless by Sarah Harnisch. A big goal this year was to take my oil knowledge up a notch. While I know a ton about why I use oils, the history of them, and what many oils are good for, I want to learn more about the science behind them and how they actually affect the body, the why they work so to speak. I have a basic knowledge of that, but am hoping to increase that this year so that I can better help our family on our natural living/wellness journey. This book is a small, quick read that’s been really recommended and is a great place for me to start! We’ve recently started going to the library once a week and it has quickly become one of our favorite traditions! Rosie asks to go everyday. I love that it allows us to try books out and then pick our very favorites to add to our permanent at-home library. Many of the choices I’ll share in this kids’ section each month are books we’ve discovered there! We’ve always read a lot of books with her, but I’m moving more toward focusing on a few at a time. Well, I should say Rosie has championed that. She continually wants the same few books over and over! Here are three recent finds that we’ve just started reading that I think are going to be favorites. Deep in the Woods has a different take on illustrations than others we’ve read and I love that! I love exposing them to different types of artwork. It’s very colorful and has a sweet story with a lot of animals. Animal books are always high on Rosie’s list! The Snow Rabbit is different than any other books we’ve read. It has no words at all. I recently heard about wordless books as a great way to foster imagination because you can make up your own story as you go through the pages. That has been really fun! But I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. They’re done by a 3-D artist and have a really beautiful layered quality about them. I think it’s my favorite illustrated book we’ve had! The Biggest Story was a birthday gift for Rosie from her aunt and uncle. It’s so beautifully illustrated and I’ve heard that the story is wonderful! We haven’t read it yet, but I’m excited to go through it with her this month. It’s longer than a typical children’s book and is done in short chapters. The tagline, HOW THE SNAKE CRUSHER BRINGS US BACK TO THE GARDEN, gives you a glimpse at what it’s about. It’s a simplified version of God’s big story from start to finish and after the reviews I’ve heard, I’m thrilled to read it. Well, friends, that’s what we’re reading this month! In early April, I’ll share reviews of these along with a glimpse at what we’re reading next. Please share any recommendations you’ve loved with me! I’m building a reading list for future months and would love to hear what have been awesome reads for you! Fiction, nonfiction, faith-based, anything welcome! Oh and please share your favorite children’s books!