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Love Does: a book review

Love Does

God invites us to be new creations, original art, and to live a life of engagement.

Love does isn’t so much a ‘how to’ book as it is a collection of inspiring stories about how one man, Bob Goff, decided to model love in his life and with his children.  It’s a book that truly illustrates why it’s not enough to talk about what you want to do in the world, or what you believe in—you have to DO SOMETHING about what you believe in and you don’t have to be the most famous, most talented, smartest or even wealthy to do SOMETHING for another person.

As a parent I was inspired by the way the Goff’s have chosen to parent their children.  From ’10 year old Adventures’ to encouraging their children to write leaders in foreign countries and then vowing to take them to any of the countries they were invited to.  In the end, the Goff children received invitations from and visited political leaders in 29 countries! Can you imagine what a life changing experience that is to have as a kid? What could ever possibly intimidate you after such an experience?

God says He wants us to battle injustice to look out for orphans and widows, to give sacrificially.  And anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of this point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish.  God wants us to get some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference.  I can’t make a real need matter to me by listening to story, visiting the website, collecting information, or wearing the bracelet about it.

I guess I would say that before reading this book I already believed in the things Bob writes about.  We did start a Family Foundation because we wanted to DO something in this world, after all.  However, after reading it I feel a new resolve to think BIGGER and involve our children in the brainstorming process.  I’m going to start putting myself out there and realizing the worst that can happen is that someone can say No.

Sometimes when you want to chase after a dream or fight for change in the world it’s easy to become discouraged.  It’s easy to feel small and insignificant, but you have to press on, because you’re uniquely created for this world.  Everyone has the ability to change lives. I now firmly believe that and I intend to model that for my children.

All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit Restore International and the Mentoring Project.

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Summer Reading 2013

If you only read two novels this summer, these are the two that I would recommend for your summer reading 2013 list.  I enjoyed every second of these page turners and isn’t that what summer reading is about?

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice is a 39 year old woman in the middle of a bitter divorce who takes a knock to the head and thinks she is now 29 and pregnant with her first child.  Her interactions with her children, family and ex husband are from the perspective of a 29 year old woman who doesn’t remember any of the “history” of the past 10 years.  Thought provoking and funny.  I thought it was a fun summer read!

me before you cover

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a heartbreaking romantic story about 2 people who have very little in common but fall in love anyway.   If you think you’ve read a book like that before, you haven’t.  This one really has a twist and it makes you think about what you would do in their situation and if you could choose someone else’s eternal happiness over your own eternal loss.


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What I read on Sabbatical 2013

I’m never so happy as when I’m somewhere quiet and have the luxury of reading for hours on end, with a highlighter and notebook in hand. This year my goal is to make more time for reading (for pleasure) and share the books I’m reading (or have read) on the blog each month.

Books & Reading Glasses




Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
Similar to Rubin’s other book, The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home follows the same basic monthly project format based on a series of principals Rubin believes are essential to being happy at home.   Rubin then takes on monthly experiments and shares the results .   I thought it was thought provoking and inspiring.  I’ve heard others say they enjoyed it even more than Rubin’s first book, The Happiness Project, and I have to agree.  I think the reason I think I enjoyed this book more was because it seemed more applicable to what I’m doing right now.  Homemaking, specifically making a HOME for my family that fosters relationships and happy childhood memories is a focus for me.  It was the perfect book to read on Sabbatical because it got me thinking about what small but important changes I wanted to make to our home life, or my perspective on our home life, for the better of all. I read it with a highlighter and made a list of things I’d like to incorporate and new ideas I was inspired to try for myself.


What Remains by Carole Radziwell

“We create narratives for people, because they are simpler than the complexities of real life. When narratives change, it’s unsettling, because whether or not they’re our own, they help to define us, and we don’t want to let go of them”

I had never heard of Carole Radziwell before I read this book. I also wouldn’t consider myself a fan or follower of the Kennedy Family, but I found myself wishing I had paid more attention to the story of John Kennedy Jr. and his wife after reading about them from Carole’s perspective. Her writing is so powerful and her story is both beautiful and painful. Immediately after finishing it I recommended it on my Personal Facebook page and every friend who later read it said they loved it as much as I did.


Augusta, Gone: a True Story by Martha Tod Dudman
I won’t lie.  As a mother, this book scared the heck out of me.  I actually stopped reading it on Sabbatical because it wasn’t doing anything to relax or encourage me. If you or someone you know is going through a tough time with a teenager, this book might be one of those you’re-not-alone books that sometimes we all just need to hear.  While I’ve read books on drug addictions before, this book really hit me in the gut.


A women’s secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa Terkeurst
This book was like a welcome balm for my soul.  It tackles the things that most women really want out of life, based on biblical perspectives.  Every woman I know talks about how busy they are and how there isn’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all that they are trying to.  For me this book was an opportunity to redirect my priorities more intentionally and feel encouraged and inspired to do so.  I highly recommend this book for any Christian woman who is either feeling overwhelmed or simply desires to know how to better live out God’s priorities for her life and find that balance we all desire.


trophy mom diaries 4-3-12-78


Writing down the Bones: freeing the writer within by Natalie Goldberg

A book  for writers or would-be writers alike. Writing down the Bones offers encouragement, inspiration, and tips on becoming a writer, delivered  in bite size chapters.  I cannot speak to how a published author may view this book, but for me it was just the bit I needed at the right time.  I didn’t read it straight through, this isn’t that type of book. I’ve been reading a chapter here and there and it’s provided just the write boost I need to continue writing regularly, the only way to truly improve as a writer.



Start by Jon Acuff
Reading this book is just like hearing Jon Acuff speak.  It’s purely an encouraging and motivational book. There are no deep secrets that you haven’t heard before but  Jon does offer an inspiring kick in the butt to do what you know you need to do, but haven’t been doing.  The book is applicable to any type of goal or dream.

Unmarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging by Stratten

After hearing Scott Stratten speak at a blogging conference I was interested in reading it because it specifically covers social media and viral marketing. Although the book mostly focuses on selling products or services I thought it contained really useful information for bloggers who are primarily interested in building a platform.  Of course, like anything, the real key is what you do AFTER you finish reading the book.  Stratten lays out a pretty detailed road map to get you where you want to go.  It’s more than just a motivational book. It’s packed with useful information.


Have you read anything good lately? I’d love to hear your book suggestions in the comments.

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Review: People who eat darkness

I’ll admit that People who eat darkness is a dark book and tragic tale.  I put it on my list of books to read in 2013 and I finished it in 2 days.  It sucked me in from the first Chapter.  It reads like a suspense novel, only unfortunately it is very much a true story.

When I was a model I often heard of girls going to Japan to work as a hostess.  You would hear various stories of what hostessing meant in Japan but the one story that remained the same was that the money was very good and easy to make.

The book centers around Lucie Blackman; a young  middle class British girl who traveled to Tokyo with a childhood friend in search of easy money (to pay off her debts) and adventure.  Once there she found the money was not so easy to make (or save due to her living expenses), but did find adventure, romance and an untimely violent death.

Author, Richard Loyd Parry, gives a highly detailed and suspenseful account of the details leading up to and surrounding Lucie Blackman’s disappearance and the lengthy trial following her death.  Parry, who was a journalist living in Japan gives quite a bit of background information to help the reader understand the culture, laws and mindset of those living and working in Roppongi.

Although I’ve never been a hostess in Japan, I do recall the lure in my youth to travel to exotic locations.  It’s easy to see how someone so young & searching for adventure could find herself in a foreign country and dangerous circumstances.

As a parent my heart breaks for the parents who lost their children.  There are still young women traveling to Japan to work as hostesses from all over the world.

Perhaps they should read this book first?


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What I plan to read in 2013

Last year  Jeff Ryan set a goal of reading a book day for 2012.  I’m obviously not going to set a goal of  reading 366 books in 366 days but I did want to start 2013 with being intentional about my reading goals.

I simply want to read the books I have on this list by the end of 2013.   My list is rather broad. I’m very eclectic in my reading tastes.  Many of these books have been languishing in “to read” pile for longer than I care to remember.   It feels good to start off 2013 with a neat little list of what I’m going to make time to read.

Of course I know that 2013 will bring its own interesting reads and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to squeeze them in.  If not, there is always 2014.


My Reading List for 2013



Writing Down the Bones:  Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg


Platform: Get noticed in a Noisy World



What remains:  A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love by Carole Radziwill


As nature made him: the boy who was raised a girl


Cinderella ate my daughter

Raising a daughter after  God’s own Heart

The Blessing: Giving the gift of unconditional love and acceptance

Busy but balanced: Practical and Inspirational ways to create a calmer, closer family


How Children Succeed

 The Core: Teaching your child the foundations of a classical education

Never too early to write

Nonfiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and research in grades 3-8


Augusta, Gone


Non Fiction

People who eat darkness


Case Histories

Described as a smart thriller, Kate Atkinson is said to write thrillers that keep you up to see what happens next. The last book I read that did that was called, “Gone Girl” and every book has seemed like a let down since.

Safe Haven

The Middlesteins

What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill


The Holy Bible NIV

Every year I swear this is the year that I’m going to read the entire bible and every year I fail. This year, I’m going to get my act together and attempt to follow the Bible in 90 days plan.

The power of words and the wonder of God

Finding God’s Path through your trials by Elizabeth George

There isn’t a book by Elizabeth George that I don’t love.  This title caught my heart.

Unglued: Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions

A year of Biblical womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

The book is controversial for sure, however something about it intrigues me.  I think it will be an entertaining read while I am reading my way through the bible.

Constantly Craving by Marilyn Meberg

I purchased this book at the recent Women of Faith Conference.  If you’ve never heard Marilyn speak you are truly missing out on some humor.  This book really struck me because I’ve noticed that I am constantly trying to do more, achieve more and when I reach the goal I rarely enjoy it before setting the next goal.  This has been a pattern in my life and it leaves me feeling exhausted and oftentimes discontented, when I should be grateful.


I cannot recall if I’ve ever read either of the books below, but I’ve had them on my shelf and I am determined to read 2 classics this year.  Of course I also bought The Odyssey, thanks to the encouragement of Edie, however I am too intimidated by the book.  I think I’m going to start small for now.

East of Eden

To Kill a mockingbird

What books are you planning to read in 2013? Do you have any suggestions for me?

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