2019 Reading List Part 2

I realized in this half of the year that a lot of my time is spent reading to the boys! As they grow and begin to read independently, I will want to pre-read unfamiliar books to make sure there is nothing questionable in them. For instance, I thought my oldest might enjoy the Land of Stories series but I read a review that some language and content is not suitable for younger kids. So much of my reading time will be spent reading older classics aloud to the boys and pre-reading content for the boys to read independently. Not disappointed to dive into A Series of Unfortunate Events this next year! Recommendations for youth series to digest and avoid very, very welcome!

Praying the Lord’s Prayer for Spiritual Breakthrough
by Elmer Towns
I first picked up this book in college, as it is authored by one of my favorite professors and the co-founder of my alma mater. Just like this year, I was doing focused study on prayer in the hopes to enrich my understanding and method of prayer. This book breaks down each portion of the Lord’s prayer, why it is significant and important to our daily walk, and how complete this model prayer is for our needs. It magnifies God is every chapter and reminds us that prayer is a means to rightly realign our thoughts and actions to the will of the Lord and not a method of manipulating God to fulfills our desires. My favorite reminder is to begin our prayers by hallowing God’s name. We must first remember who we are praying to and that will refocus the rest of our prayers. At the end of each chapter there are journaling questions for personal use and prayer growth as you learn about each portion of the Lord’s prayer.

Brave Enough: Getting over our fears, flaws, and failures to live bold and free
by Nicole Unice
I joined a summer Bible study at church as my Kindergarten class was taking a break. They were midway through this book, so I grabbed a copy and caught up to participate in group discussion. In this book, the need for Jesus and His grace is repeated over and over. We cannot muster up courage within ourselves if we are buying into the lies we (and the world) tell ourselves. Only by believing in Jesus and who we become through His transformative work can we live bravely and enter into His Kingdom work. Being brave enough to let Christ truly transform our hearts is the only way to be brave enough to live in this world.

The Mouse and The Motorcycle
By Beverly Cleary
I try to read aloud books with the boys they will not choose on their own. The Mouse and the Motorcycle was a clear winner for a bath time read aloud. All three boys were invested in Ralph and his adventures. They asked for multiple chapters to be read each bath time. I love the reminders of a simpler time, how humble the hotel and family in the story are, and how relatable Ralph is to kids. We all wish we had a little mouse friend who could drive our own toys around. It was a great lesson in being kind to others and thinking of others more than ourselves.

Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today
by David R. Helm
I picked up this book as a crash course for a teaching position I have stepped into. I would be delivering lectures on Scripture passages that are content oriented and not just a personal reflection speech. I value the 9Marks series and this volume was a great reminder of keeping first things first and warns of pitfalls that many Bible teachers or preachers might fall into. “Be faithful to the text and fruitful for today.” It was a quick and easy read, which is what I wanted and aligned so well with my training for this teaching role.

Charlotte’s Web
By E.B. White
The farm animal personalities in this story are so colorful! These animals relate to each other in believable ways and it makes their lives on the farm seem so funny and simple. This book teaches lessons on friendship, hard work, self worth, and even loss. The death of Charlotte opened a door to talk to my boys about what happens when we lose people we love and how we might feel during those times. There is also a part in the story where Fern’s mother goes to the doctor worried about Fern talking to animals. It was a reminder to me to allow my children to play and use their imaginations. There is plenty of time to grow up, but pretend play is such a great and safe way to explore the world.

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
In this second volume by Robert Galbraith, we follow the private investigator on another murder mystery with many suspects and unsavory characters. Each chapter left me with more questions and I found myself so disgusted and intrigued with the twisted world of publishing that serves as the premise. We learn more about the main cast and and they grow to be a working team. I do not think of these leads as my friends, but I become very invested in their lives and decisions. Just like with the previous book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, I did not correctly guess the murderer. This book was violent and crass and not one I would usually recommend, but I did enjoy the mystery.

Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship
by Ruth Chou Simons
This is the book every Christian needs. It is a great reminder to feast our eyes on Jesus in order to become more like Him. It is filled with short chapters complemented by beautiful gracelaced art. We explore ways we are unlike God and ways we can become more like Him so that we might bring glory to our Heavenly Father and fulfill His purposes for our lives. It is an encouraging and convicting read, but also so beautiful to just flip through.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
By Betty MacDonald
All of these children’s books are from my childhood library. I remember around third grade being introduced to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and loving her and her house of adventures and imagination! I didn’t remember too many specifics and was very pleased to see each short story/chapter was dealing with some nasty behavior in children! For example: The Won’t Pick Up Toys Cure. While these cures didn’t necessarily cause a miraculous change in my children, they laughed about the antics of the children in the stories and maybe realized how silly they sounded when they argued with me about cleaning up. My book is a treasury, so we will have more adventures with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in the future.

Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments
by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
I have looked forward to this book since the Risen Motherhood podcast teased it! This was the first podcast I started listening to and Emily and Laura are easy to listen to, relatable, and so gospel centered. This book dives into common struggles in motherhood and how we can apply the gospel to those moments. It is so helpful in this season and such a great reminder that Jesus is all we need. It is beautiful and its message is timeless.

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
by Richard J. Foster
This book was a re-read for me, but I think I appreciate it more now as a more mature individual who has seen the Lord work though prayer in more ways. This book outlines many types of prayer, how and when to pray these forms of prayers, and some misunderstandings we have about prayer. The main thing is that prayer unites us with the heart of God. Through every prayer we are seeking to know God’s will and obtain His favor. As we grow in the discipline of prayer we are better equipped to walk with God and to follow Him fully. We put off the aspects of ourselves that are worthless, put on the character of God, and enter into His work to bring Him glory. Reading this has reminded me that we do not pray for our own benefit or for miraculous answers. We pray so that we may better know and understand God. When we better know and understand Him, then we are prepared to obey Him.

Runaway Ralph
By Beverly Cleary
I showed the boys my pile of old children’s classics and they were so excited to see another book about Ralph and his Motorcycle! I had never read this second story before and it was so fun to experience it together for the first time. Ralph runs away to summer camp where he thinks he will be able to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all day and not have to sneak around the hotel for spare crumbs. But summer camp holds all kinds of other dangers, like cats and dogs and being caught and put in a cage to live. This story teaches lessons on contentment, planning, and also brought back such fond memories of my own from summer camp. We also were able to discuss when we think someone might be a little odd or weird and how we should treat those people.

Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name
By Bryan Chapell
I have not finished this book because my Kindle app will not save my place, no matter how I highlight or bookmark the pages. I plan to finish it and would love to better use my Kindle app as I have several books already purchased that I would love to dive into. The portion I was able to read served as a great reminder to pray in the power of the name of Jesus. So often we close our prayers with “In Jesus’ Name, Amen”. But we should pray our praise and petitions in the name of the Jesus from the very start. It is through Him and His sacrifice that we are able to pray. It is through His intercession to the Father that our prayers are heard. It is because of the redemption we have in Him that we are considered righteous and worthy to speak to the Father. The portion helped realign some misconceptions I had about prayer and helped me better orient my prayers in submission to God.

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life In An Ordinary World
By Bob Goff
This is also an in progress read, also on the Kindle. I have only read about 25% if it, but so far am grossly disappointed. I had heard so many great things about this book and saw many people highly endorse it. I might change my review after finishing it, but the first quarter seemed to be more focused on love for the sake of love as opposed to love for the sake of Christ. This very well might just be the build up to the main point and I hope that is the case and the rest of the book emphasizes why we love and the purpose of our love, knowing Jesus and making Him known to the world.

I have a pile collected for 2020, but it is just a pile of books I have not read yet and so they should receive priority. But I realized this year that I felt pressured to work my way through the pile and if a new book was released or I was gifted a book, then I felt like I had to wait until my pile was completed to dive in. How silly! So this next year I have high hopes for a lot of good reading for growth, investing time in fiction that allows me to enter new worlds, and enjoying some youth fiction to hopefully continue to grow my children’s love for reading.

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