Life Is…

I saw a lot of buzz on social media about Judah Smith’s book so I was excited to jump into it when it arrived to review.  I haven’t read his previous book so that might have helped, but the book still made sense as a stand alone.  He did a great job at adding humor, personal stories, and good points into the different chapter.  The book is divided into four sections talking about how Life is… to be loved and to love, to trust God in every moment, to be at peace with God and yourself, and to enjoy God.  Some of the book felt like many other Christian non-fiction books that I have read, but I was thankful for a few new insights.  My favorite parts were the chapters talking about God’s illogical love for us and about how life is to enjoy God.  The biblical stories connected with these themes really brought a fresh revelation and reminder about how rules and regulations don’t work.  We can want to put God into a nice little box of blessing us and loving us when we meet His expectations, but God shows us a different way.   For me, this is always good to hear again since I can tend to want to make lists or rules or make “sense” out of the things that happen or what is happening.  Instead, when I am focusing on enjoying and loving God while also resting in knowing that He loves me, that is when I am most content and walking out His plans.  I feel like this would be a great book for someone who has not read too many Christian non-fiction books and who likes personal stories mixed with biblical stories along with a light-hearted feel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

9 Months!

9 Months

A little late but here it is!

What we have learned…pulling up and standing up, playing the drums with hands & drum sticks, climbing stairs, how to open drawers and cupboards, and how to facetime with grandma.

What we are enjoying right now…crawling, standing, eating, exploring!   He still loves the wind and being outside.  Music and drums are favorites as well.  We are also loving some warmer days for walks.

What our biggest struggles are…getting to sleep without us…this has become a theme…he sure loves us.

Asher’s most exciting milestones…pulling up to standing! And more teeth……..his two on top and two on bottom have come through quite well and he’s got one more just poking through on the top.  He also finally learned how to get off the treadmill without help.  Saying “dada” and lots of new foods!  He loves eating off our plates.  Our food is better obviously.

What we are looking forward to…while we were looking forward to Easter last month and the Easter egg hunt at church.  We are still looking forward to warmer weather sometime….

Asher’s likes and dislikes…still loving being held, being tickled, crawling, exploring, getting books off the shelves, putting everything in his mouth, the drum set, the little red dog toy, and opening cupboards. He seems to like eating bananas, clementines, and well really he hasn’t not eaten anything we’ve given him…this kid likes food.  He dislikes being tired, teething, when someone walks by and doesn’t pick him up if he wants them to, when we don’t give him our food, when he hits his head or falls hard.

What sleep looks like…still getting longer stretches, but had a few not so great nights with teething.  We learned that sometimes he doesn’t like to nurse to sleep anymore and that works better–not always.  He likes to keep us guessing.  Still doing a bath before bedtime.

What we are eating…lots of new things!  We ate at Chipotle with Carrie, Mardo, and Micah–and Asher so kindly snagged some of Carrie’s peppers–like I’ve said…this kid can eat and knows what he wants!  We also got Jimmy John’s when we filled all the Easter eggs for church.

Who we have seen…we got to see Carrie, Mardo, and Micah in Maple Grove when we made an impulse trip to REI! Totally fun.  The new worship leader and his wife too.

At the last doctor’s appointment…waiting until next month for his 9 month appointment so we will see what he’s like then. He’s into 12 month and almost out of it even…18 month is on the horizon.  Size 4 diapers at night but mostly cloth too–we even snagged some more covers from the seconds sale.

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8 Months

8 months

Wait. 8 months!? I guess! This last month has seemed to be a big one in lots of things happening!

What we have learned…crawling rocks!  Chasing Boaz’s tail is the best thing and eating food is fun too.  Though, kiwis do not make for fun diapers…

What we are enjoying right now…eating food, crawling around, making lots of noises, chasing Boaz, music, Asher loves being sung to, & sleeping longer!  He’s got all sorts of personality and is such a happy baby.  He loves mornings and exploring!

What our biggest struggles are…getting to sleep without us…little man loves mom and dad.

Asher’s most exciting milestones…crawling! And hello more teeth.  Two on the bottom and seems like two on the top are just through or just about through too.  He also loves to “walk” while holding our hands. Oh and we retired the kick n play but kept the piano part separate and out.

What we are looking forward to…spring…please come quickly…

Asher’s likes and dislikes…still loving jumping, songs, being held, Boaz, funny noises, when we raise our eyebrows at him, being tickled, standing, and chewing (especially chewing on straws or pens).  Also loving crawling, crunching paper, picking things up, the drum set, trying to crawl on the treadmill, and chewing on tags.  He dislikes getting to sleep, when straws or pens or things he wants are taken away from him, when he gets stuck, and when he notices us but we aren’t paying attention to him.  He’s got a pretty good “blah blah blah” angry noise when he doesn’t like something too now.

What sleep looks like…getting longer sleeping stretches! Who knows why but bedtime has been pushed back a bit lately and it’s been more like 8:30-9:30 by the time he actually falls asleep but then he’s sleeping more like 5-6 hour chunk…here’s to dropping night feedings soon!

What we are eating…Asher keeps eating more new foods and we are trying to keep up on buying things he can eat!  We got to go to Bello Cucina for Valentine’s Day and got a vanilla milkshake from Cafe 116.  We discovered we love Papa Murphy’s pan pizzas.  We ate queso from Qdoba.  We snuck in a Starbucks treat.

Who we have seen…we got to see grandma and grandpa when they got back from their trip!  We did get to have dinner with great grandma and grandpa—Asher showed off his crawling and eating for them too!

At the last doctor’s appointment…we had his “6 month” appointment this month and found out that he’s 18 lb. 12 oz. and 28 1/4 inches long!  Still our tall and skinny kid according to the doctor.  He’s also definitely into 12 month clothing.  Rocking the size 4 overnight diapers but mostly doing cloth still!IMG_2181IMG_2195

Make It Happen

I’ve been on a reading kick lately and I am loving it…so here’s another one that I just finished!

I was a little nervous about reading Lara Casey’s Make It Happen because I didn’t quite even know what I wanted to “make happen” or what “it” was for me.  There was a good chunk of the book that touched on Lara’s story and her own insights that she has learned along the way.  I love reading about how people have gotten to where they are, what they struggle with, how God has intervened, and this book was no different.  I found myself looking forward to reading these parts and really connecting at times with things Lara went through in life.  This would have been a fantastic book for me to read in my late teens or early twenties.  I think I would have really resonated with Lara then!  I still resonated with her, but have been encouraged to find myself in a different spot and to see the growth in both myself and Lara!

The book is meant to be interactive so I would definitely suggest doing this with a small group and to really dig out a notebook and get ready to sit and write.  There were many parts that I have bookmarked to go back over and spend more time sitting with and praying over again.  One part that I really loved too was where she mentioned that she has a mission statement for her social media use–that seems totally beneficial and helpful to me in this time where it can be easy to use social media in ways that are time wasters rather than using them to positively make a difference.  The book was a good mix of providing direction while not being a “how to” or even implying that there could be a one size fits all formula.  So, even though I didn’t end the book with a big lightbulb moment about what my “it” is I appreciated that Lara even explored the concept of not rushing into finding it and that it may look very different than our first thoughts.  She challenged my ideas on wanting something “big” to go and do and make happen.  I’m excited to continue to sift through the workbook portions of this book and see what God reveals as I do the activities.  All in all, a great book and wish I had read it a few years earlier! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Scary Close

I’ve been having a theme of reading books about vulnerability, intimacy, community, and relationships this year so Donald Miller’s new book fit right on my list!  I’ve enjoyed the other things I’ve read by him and was excited to see this one come up as a choice to review.  I found myself underlining like crazy, laughing, nodding my head, and connecting with much of what was written.  I felt drawn into the story of Don and Betsy from the start and enjoyed following along with them throughout the book.  I loved the way their love story was threaded throughout in a meaningful way.  Don also shares about his experience at Onsite and with working with counselors, trusted friends, and in learning new ways to form healthy relationships.  He was authentic and honest in these without being soap boxy.  Basically, I loved that he was vulnerable enough to share about areas he struggled and what he did to get help.  He even shares about his list of new freedoms including “I am willing to contradict something I’ve said before.  I’m willing to sound dumb.  I’m willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool.  I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.”  I personally was challenged by his own journey of dropping the act and being himself.  There’s something powerful about belonging and acceptance without fear of judgment.  Even after I turned the last page of this book, I left thinking that I need to go back over what I had underlined and continue to keep doing my own work of dropping my “act.”  Thanks for the awesome book, Don (and Betsy).

Have you read anything great lately?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

7 Months!

Asher 7 Months

Ah! You’re closer to your first birthday than to when you were born, baby.  And you’re looking more and more like a little boy.

What we have learned…being sick can seem to last a long time.  Sleep does get better!  Asher learned how to get up on his hands and knees as well as to move backwards. He’s also rolling all over now and not as unhappy on his stomach!

What we are enjoying right now…sitting at the kick n play playing, a few warmer days, staying awake longer (usually about 2ish hours!).

What our biggest struggles are…getting to sleep sometimes and balancing all of the things we want to do and how to find time to make them happen.

Asher’s most exciting milestones…starting food!  He also has a tooth just barely poking through on his lower jaw.  He’s learned how to move backwards and can roll all around to get what he wants.   He also got to hang out in the Nursery during Bible study.  Oh and let’s not forget to talk about his hair…yay for even more hair coming in and it looking thicker!

What we are looking forward to…Valentines Day, date night, warmer weather (please?), and Grandma & Grandpa coming back from their trip.

Asher’s likes and dislikes…still loving jumping, songs, playing at his kick n play (he likes to sit in front of it now though), being held, Boaz, funny noises, when we raise our eyebrows at him, being tickled, standing, and chewing (especially chewing on straws or pens).  He dislikes getting to sleep, when straws or pens or things he wants are taken away from him, and when he notices us but we aren’t paying attention to him.

What sleep looks like…getting better!  Bedtime has been all over because of being sick and just crazy schedules still, but he’s pretty consistent at going 4ish chunks.  The last week or so he’s been in a 2 and 5 rut, but then will sleep in a bit so we will take that.  He is totally not the kid who goes to bed late and still wakes up early…he is the I will sleep as long as I want no matter when I go to bed.  So we’ve had some late mornings :)

What we are eating…Asher started eating food other than milk!  So far, he’s tried bananas, avocado, pear, rice cereal, and broccoli.  The rest of us enjoyed going to eat at the Minnewaska House for date night and we got to try the new Ben & Jerry’s cookie butter ice cream.  We also snuck in a Chipotle run and some yummy cinnabites.  Pretty much, we all love food.

Who we have seen…we got to meet Graham this month!  He and Asher are going to be best buddies just like their mamas ;) Though, we wished the circumstances had been different we were definitely happy to have Ally, Levi, Madi, and Graham home.  We also got to celebrate Carrie’s birthday with her and Micah in St. Cloud.

At the last doctor’s appointment…well, in the middle of the month when the poor guy had the miserable influenza, we found out that he weighed 18 lbs! He even got to sit up to be weighed and watch the little fishes.  We have another doctor’s appointment next week so we will see where we are at then!

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Lean On Me

Book number 2 finished for the year!

I recently read Lean on Me by Anne Marie Miller.  This book had been on my radar for a while and I was intrigued since a long time ago I used to follow her when she was Anne Jackson.  I have also read some of her other books, but I knew that a lot had changed in her life so I was curious about this book.

I loved that from the beginning she made it clear that this wasn’t going to be a “how to” or a ten steps type book.  I agree with her that while there are steps and actions that can be taken in building community there are also so many factors and individual situations.  This is a topic that leaves much room for variation.  So, instead, Anne takes us through her own realization that she does not have the committed and vulnerable community that she thought she had.  She then chronicles what she does in order to create the type of community that she needed at a hard time in her life.  The type of community that emerges is varied and comes from all different stages of life for her.  She shares this with smaller stories throughout and does not sugar coat the hard parts.

I appreciated that she left the end of the book without a neat little bow.  She didn’t say that she’s figured out community or that she’s doing it perfectly.  She left room for us all to be in progress on our own paths.  Yet, she still highlighted the benefits and the importance of having committed and vulnerable relationships in our lives.  There were times I wished I could have heard more about the stories or about her choices.  I wanted to know how she handled the boundaries with the people on her team who were men and married.  I wanted to know more about the types of interactions they built.  But most of that was out of curiosity rather than “needing” to know.  The book was still a fun, quick, and engaging read.  I found myself evaluating the type of community I have and the type of friend I am to others.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”