I had to squeeze this post in because I realized I had some darn good reads to share with you. What used to be called Twitterature, is now Quick Lit over at Modern Mrs. Darcy, and I’m linking up. But first, I just wanted to remind you about my newsletter– have you subscribed yet? I about to send a new edition out and in it, I’ll be sharing some fun blog news. If you want to subscribe, you can do so here.

Here are the books I finished in the last month.

I already told you how much I loved it but I’ll mention it once more– One Plus One was one of my favorites this year. I checked it out through my library– have you checked to see if you can check out books electronically yet?

My library uses the OverDrive system and I can request and check out books on my Kindle really easily. They don’t have everything, but they have a pretty good selection of bestsellers.

Someday, Someday, Maybe  by Lauren Graham (yes, that Lauren Graham)

This was a fun read– it’s about a single girl, living in NYC, trying to make it as an actress. It wasn’t the most thrilling novel and I think she could have developed the romance a bit more, but overall, I enjoyed it (and learned a lot about show business!). I hope Lorelai, I mean, Lauren, writes more books.

Finding God at the Kitchen Sink
by Maggie Paulus

This is such a great devotional for moms. It’s raw, it’s real, but it’s also beautiful. It reminds of the spirit of the 10 on 10 series– beauty in the ordinary– but infused with the gospel and snippets of scripture. Each entry reads like a blog post and is coupled with personal photos, which I love as well. Oh, and if you get it, your copy isn’t dirty– it was designed to look like that (took me a while to figure that out ;) ).

Starry Night
by Debbie Macomber

This was an impulse check-out (I just made that phrase up). I saw it on the library website and thought, yeah, I need a cheesy Christmas romance to read over Thanksgiving break. It was quick and easy, fun and indeed romantic.

Teaching from Rest
by Sarah Mackenzie

I also finished this one over Thanksgiving. My lovely friend Sarah wrote it and it really spoke to me where I’m at with homeschooling. Sarah is a mom of six young ones and has a lovely philosophy on teaching that was really inspiring and as you can imagine, restful, to read about. I highly recommend this ebook to anyone homeschooling (or considering). She also offers an audio companion which I’m excited to listen to.

by Molly Wizenburg

I adored this book. In fact, I finished it last night and promptly handed it to David with an enthusiastic encouragement that he start reading it before I have to return it to the library. I want to cook all her recipes, and go eat pizza at Delancey. I really love Molly’s writing style– she’s very real and approachable, but at the same time has a lovely way with words… and with words about food. I loved it even more than A Homemade Life.

Read anything good lately?

Affiliate links included; thanks for your support! Special thanks to Moody Publishers for the review copy of Finding God at the Kitchen Sink.

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This has been the first year that I chose a word to focus on and really felt like I persisted in seeking it out in my life. I guess it makes sense that I would stick with it, since I chose the word perseverance.

It’s been hard in a lot of ways. I oftentimes sensed that I was being challenged simply because I chose that word. It’s like when we pray for patience, and then we feel like God is giving us lots of opportunities where we feel our flesh wanting to be impatient.

I don’t think it’s that he’s punishing us for focusing on a certain word– like, don’t pray about growing in perseverance or God will give you lots of really hard-to-finish tasks just to challenge you.

No, I think, rather, that we just are more sensitive to those opportunities because we’ve tuned our senses to that particular word. I probably didn’t have any more opportunities to persevere than I normally would have for where I am in life, but I was keenly aware of them because I had honed in on improving in that area.

I’ve got a few weeks left in the year to wrap up a couple of things, and I’m sure there will be plenty of long days to endure through. In my last newsletter of the year, which I’m planning to send out soon, I’ll share a bit more about what I’ve experienced this year. And then it’s time to think of a new word to focus on. Can you believe we’re approaching another new year here?

Next year, there is a really unique growth opportunity that I wanted to share with you. As the lazy blogger that I am, you know I must be excited if I’m blogging about something less than 12 hours after I heard about the opportunity. And I am. I’m that excited.

My friend Mandi of Life Your Way is a self-confessed “recovering serial entrepreneur.” I’ve walked alongside her for some of her journey when we worked together for Simple Living Media and seen that in action– she is an amazing entrepreneur and mom, but even she realized this year that she needed to refine some things in her life.

Live :: Creating a life you love.

Mandi has put together an e-course for 2015 that intends to intentionally walk through a different area of what really living means each month.

As I read through the list of monthly contributors, I got more and more excited. So many of these women are bloggers I’ve grown to follow, admire and learn from, and several of them are women I would consider close friends and/or mentors (and, I know that many (if not all) also love the Lord). These ladies have written books and blogs that have helped me grow immensely in various areas of my life.

The monthly curriculum is as follows:

Live :: Creating a life you love.

What’s included in the course?

  • a step-by-step approach that helps you focus on one area of your life at a time to create real, lasting changes
  • experts sharing fresh, exclusive content on each topic
  • a variety of multimedia formats: written blog posts, podcasts, vlogs and printables
  • ad-free content
  • a rolling format that allows you to join us in any month and cover the course material over the following 12 months
  • lifetime membership so you can revisit the monthly themes year after year
  • BONUS: offline content (PDF, .mobi and .epub)
  • BONUS: access to a private Facebook group for encouragement and discussion

What a life-giving gift to get yourself or ask for as you go into a new year. I know it’s definitely something that I want to save up for, as I know that when I look at the topics and at the invitation to LIVE more fully in those areas, and immediate YES! resounds within me.

Live :: Creating a life you love is available now for the introductory rate of $156, and then the price will go up next week on December 15th.

I’m already excited to turn the page of a new year. Starting fresh is one of my favorite things to do, and working through a year-long project like this sounds fantastic.

Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support.

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I haven’t shared a list of happy things with you lately, so here I am to do so today!

wicked- 3 little things

Let’s start with the most fresh in my mind… Last night my mom took me out on the town to see Wicked. David and I saw it many years ago in Hollywood but I didn’t remember much about it. It was fantastic! But the best part? I went to high school with one of the stars of the show, Chandra, who played Glinda the good. We wandered around back to the stage door after the show to greet her and it was so fun to watch her sign playbills, take photos with lovestruck 9-year old boys and catch up a bit with her. I was blown away by her talent and that of the rest of the cast as well. What a fun night.

Next up, I have to share a book with you. This week I realized I had accidentally checked out Jojo Moyes’ new book One Plus One on my Kindle (from the library) and suddenly saw that it already expired in three days. It was no problem though. Once I started, I plowed right through, loving it. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the ending of Me Before You, she really captivated me with her writing style and character development, and I knew I wanted to read more of her work. You guys, I really loved One Plus One. Pretty much everything about it– adventure, overcoming adversity, romance, family dynamics, British vocab– it has all that and more.


I told my Facebook/IG community how I was enjoying the She Reads Truth Advent devotional series, and I also wanted to point out how much I love their accompanying playlist on Spotify (they link to it at the end of each post). It’s been playing quite often around here, definitely bringing the happy. I put all my Christmas photos from the last oh, about 9 years in one Flickr album to use as our seasonal AppleTV screen saver along with our festive music and it’s a lovely holiday background to our day.

Happy Friday! 
(Oh! Have you subscribed to my newsletter list yet? I’m planning to send one out soon… with some insider news!)

Affiliate links included. Thanks for your support!


2nd grade homeschool

We’ve been plugging along for a few months now with second grade and my two little preschoolers, so I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a homeschool/curriculum update.

As most of you know, we homeschool part-time, through a hybrid charter school. Gigi goes to school for enrichment 1-2 days a week. If you don’t homeschool, maybe some of the resources we use might be helpful for your kids for afterschooling or keeping fresh over school breaks.

This year, we’ve made some schedule and curriculum changes and they’ve been really good for us. We feel more connected with our schooling community than ever and we’ve tried, and liked, some new things.

2nd grade in a part-time homeschooling family

Language Arts

Grammar~ We are still on Level 1 of First Language Lessons, working our way through, and I love this book. It works great for my mostly-auditory learner and isn’t stressful at all, but also gives us concrete proof of what we’ve learned with its copywork. {We do this 2-3 times a week.}

Spelling~ We liked All About Spelling a lot, but honestly, Volume 1 was really too easy for Gigi and it was a bit too complicated for us with all its steps and components with how chaotic our family can be. We’ve moved to a simple workbook that we really like. It even includes some scripture in it (but I have non-Christian who also use it, too). {2-3 times/week.}

Handwriting~ Gigi has moved on to Handwriting Without Tears’ cursive and loves it. She still does all her other work in print though at this point. She’s almost done with Kick-Start Cursive and will start the first full cursive book next. {2-3 times/week.}

Writing~ We don’t use a writing curriculum yet but Gigi is doing  more of her own journal entries, and also does lots of writing in her other subjects.

Extras: Gigi is a pretty voracious reader already and is plugging away on age/grade-appropriate chapter books, and we are still reading to the kids of course (right now it’s Little House with mom, and Lemony Snicket with dad). She still dabbles at Starfall just for fun, and has a project going on Storybird. She was progressing nicely in Rosetta Stone Spanish but we’ve taken a break from that partly to simplify and partly due to computer issues.


Singapore workbooks weren’t really doing it for us. For two years I’ve fought Gigi and her math, and when we ended first grade I felt like she was behind, and not mastering her math facts.

After some research and talking to some other parents and our E.F., we decided to make a change. We switched to Math-U-See and essentially started over (!!).

We’re now over halfway through the “Alpha” level, and it’s been a great fit for us. It incorporates a DVD lesson with Mr. Steve as we refer to him (I think he wrote the textbook), manipulative blocks, and the workbook. I also bought the Math U See iPad app so she can virtually manipulate the blocks while on the road or just to mix things up.

She might be “behind” compared to other second graders, but she’s really learning and progressing, and I think in no time she’ll be caught up and maybe even ahead eventually. The most important thing for me was to find something she gelled with where we wouldn’t have to fight over it and she could learn to appreciate numbers more than I ever did. She still protests sometimes but now it’s more a general not-wanting-to-do-school which feels normal, rather than a specific math fight. {We do new DVD lessons 1-2 times a week, and try to do math worksheets 3-5 days/week.}


We go to a weekly Bible study called CBS where Gigi gets to hang out with other homeschoolers in the Primary/Jr. class and do a kid version of the Bible study that the adults do. This year we are studying Daniel and Revelation.

She loves it, and I love that she is in the Word and getting loved on by the sweet ladies who teach her class, and in another community with other homeschool kids who love Jesus. {We try to work on Gigi’s lesson 4-5 days/week.}

2nd grade PE


We started off the year with swimming lessons and now Gigi is taking skateboarding lessons, which is pretty darn cool. We live near a world-class skate park (at our YMCA) where she is taking lessons. In the spring, she’s going to play softball for the first time.

Science & History

We do these subjects with a co-op, which I’ll share about later. :)

Thanks for stepping into our homeschool! I’d love to know what your kids are up to.

Affiliate links included. Thanks for your support!


Twitterature for Nov 2014

Hey, lovely friends! I was going to wait and share these with you next month, but then I went and finished another book, so I thought, why not? Here’s what I’ve been reading in the last month in concise tweet-like reviews.

Parnassus on Wheels
by Christopher Morley

A quirky, endearing novella about a middle-aged woman who buys a bookselling wagon on a whim and heads out on an adventure. This was a quick and delightful read. (I bought the Kindle version that came with The Haunted Bookshop, which I haven’t read yet– as of now it’s only $0.99 on Amazon!)


by Rainbow Rowell

My love affair with RR books continues… this one sucked me right in, and reminded me how much I loved college, and how powerful reading & writing can be. (Plus, super cute love story of course). I can’t get enough of her books.


This Is Where I Leave You
by Jonathan Tropper

Great family and cultural (Jewish) dynamics here, but wowsers was it a bit graphic compared to what I’m used to reading. You know how they say guys are always thinking about sex? This book backs that statement up… and then some.


Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

I checked this out from the Prime Kindle lending library months ago and finally finished it. I really loved it, and it was great read and digested in small, inspiring chunks.


New this month:

Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: totally loving this blog-like devotional

Sense & Sensibility: last book for our book club!

Someday, Someday, Maybe: a novel by Lorelei Gilmore, I mean, Sarah Braverman, I mean Lauren Graham!

and several more than I’ll tell you about next time!


Thanks, Anne, for the fun linkup.

Affiliate links included, thanks for your support!

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The 10th was a good day. A smooth homeschool morning, a relaxing afternoon with Gigi at her science co-op (I’ll tell you more about that soon), and us hanging out by the beach. Then it was off to skateboarding class and dinner at home with my parents.

10 on 10 nov14-1 10 on 10 nov14-2 10 on 10 nov14-3 10 on 10 nov14-4 10 on 10 nov14-5 10 on 10 nov14-6 10 on 10 nov14-7 10 on 10 nov14-8 10 on 10 nov14-9

10 on 10 nov14-1-2

More glimpses of the loveliness of life over at Rebekah’s blog

ten on ten button


life around the table

That’s where we belong, it seems– around the table. -Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

I’m thrilled to be sharing my heart a little about life around our humble table today at one of my favorite new blogs, The Common Table, as they kick off their monthly series, Stories From the Table.

It’s not an heirloom by any stretch.

It’s a not-real-solid-wood, on-sale Swedish model that my husband put together, and after just a few years, I already can’t scrub it back to its bright white color.

But this table, with its hodge-podge chairs and its scratches and scuffs is truly the center of our tiny home.

Read the rest over at The Common Table…

Affiliate links included, thanks for your support!


reflecting on the life poetic

It’s hard to believe the #write31days challenge is ending. Part of me feels like it whizzed by and part of me is tired of trying to tie my almost-daily posts together in a cohesive fashion (although that part was a lot easier than simply being consistent).

I didn’t quite write for 31 days (it turns out I’m not alone in that), and my series definitely turned out differently than I expected. But there turned out to be a lot of  freedom there to really be able to write almost anything and fit it into my wide constraints.

The reason is simple. There really is beauty, poetry, rhythm, and grace everywhere. It’s all around us and in us, and the truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever be done looking for it or writing about it.

philippians 48

Today, I want to wrap things up with something I’ve never done on my blog before, something a little special to inspire you as you journey along, looking for the lovely.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty, when days are tough and we feel knocked down, attacked, wrung out. But even then, on the worst of days, we can remember that God never wastes our trials, and He is truly sovereign over us, working to bring beauty from the ashes. And that there is some lovely poetry.

This is my very rough version of Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes.

Thank you to Aaron Keyes for giving me permission to share this song. And thanks to all of you for journeying along with me through this series. 

the life poetic

This is Day 31 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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girl's got resolve

Anyone who has a strong-willed child can probably relate to hoping that those character traits that challenge us so fiercely now might be used to accomplish great things later on in life.

I’ve been known to refer to my youngest as “stubborn,” “strong-willed,” and “more challenging than the first” (which says a lot), but recently I also feel like the Lord has given me a little glimpse of how her personality is actually a blessing.

I first saw this glimmer as I observed her secretly one day from the hallway outside her cracked-open door. She played in her room alone (a rare event in and of itself), and I suddenly saw her faced with what would have been a frustrating situation.

She had just spent several minutes meticulously picking up toys and placing then in a bucket she carried, when she tripped and spilled them all back out on the floor. Rather than melting down when all the toys spontaneously spilled back out, she proceeded to simply begin the job again, unfazed by temporary failure.

As I watched her, the word that came to mind was RESOLVE.

This girl’s got resolve– I kept hearing it in my mind like the Lord was revealing a deep truth about her little character.

It was a hopeful glimpse of how the Lord could use her strong personality. I’ve been noticing it more in her now the more I look for it. Sometimes, yes, she’s just an irrational three-year old, stubbornly throwing herself to the ground because she’s not getting what she wants. But other times, I see her unlikely determination, and I pray that the Lord uses this trait mightily for His glory as she grows up.

Since that first day I noticed her resolve, it’s a word that the Lord’s been revealing to me (for me) in more than one way as well. I think shortly thereafter it came up in a sermon on a Sunday morning, and my eyes were again opened to the power of a determined individual.

For 2014, the word I felt was pressed on my heart was perseverance, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Lord would use my daughter’s strong resolve to encourage me. So often I want to wallow in my exhaustion, when I know He wants me to push through and be productive in what He’s called me.

There’s a time for rest, indeed. But there’s also a time to be resolved and determined, and to persevere in the path where the Lord has us.

the life poetic

This is Day 26 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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sweet silent moments

Motherhood doesn’t offer us a lot of quiet moments. We steal them here and there, and even though I’m an extroverted person, I’ve come to relish in the moments when the chaos is stalled.

I get up early so I can make my coffee to the sound of the refrigerator’s low rumble alone, and watch the sun come up above the tree line silently.

I stay up late so my husband and I can finish our thoughts and have a complete conversation.

Of course, the silence is perfect only in small doses for me. Too long in the quiet and it actually becomes deafening to my untrained ears that are so accustomed to loud.

The best quiet moments are the most fleeting– I treat the littles to chocolate almond milk, and while they munch on their snacks we all gaze out at the fountain down below. We’re just together, and I take it all in, reading a few sentences and catching the napkins that almost blow away.

Moments later, of course, they’re off and running, both their feet and their question-filled minds. That’s fun, too. But it’s certainly special to soak in the rare moments with them of sweet silence.

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” 
― Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth

the life poetic

This is Day 25 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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