Whisper

Books about hearing God’s voice have always intrigued me and I am usually a little skeptical about them. Oftentimes, it seems people want a tried and true formula that will work every time. I admit that sounds awesome and easy.  Though, that type of relationship sounds a bit manipulative and not really a relationship. All of this to say that I recently picked up Mark Batterson’s book called Whisper to review. 

I haven’t read a book by Batterson for a while but remembered liking previous books by him. His style of writing is easy to read and he crams a ton of stories into the book. I could tell that he had done his research and wanted to include real life facts. 

I found the tidbits he included about hearing and science to be fascinating. The stories also reinforced his points. I felt he mostly used historical stories with the combination of biblical accounts. This was an interesting mix to me since sometimes Christian books only use biblical text. I appreciated the mix. 

The book expounds on the different ways we can hear from God and the ways He has been known to speak to His people. I love that Batterson brought the book to conclusion by reminding us that God is love and that He is speaking love to us. 

I really enjoyed this book and found myself sharing the different stories to others. Even though I didn’t read a new way to hear from God, I did gain a deeper appreciation for how we hear and the science that God created. I would recommend this book if you like historical stories and interesting facts to go along with reading about God!
Disclosure: I received this book for free but all opinions are my own! 

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9 Months and 10 Months

Here I thought maybe I would get this up close to 9 months and I’m still a bit late (ha I wrote this close but now we added in month 10 too). The last month or so have been jam packed of fun though! 

We headed out to Rapid City and Rocky Mountain National Park with friends! We followed that by a long weekend in Pensacola for my brother’s wedding. Sadly, we missed the Duathlon this year. My cousin got married at the end of September. Our fence finally came! (We are currently working on putting it in this week!). 

In September, we also ran our half marathon (and met our goal time!) with friends in Grand Forks. We celebrated Enoch on the 19th. June came and spoke at church about Ignite. Asher started preschool at Butterfly Hill! 

Needless to say, we have been busy with fun things! 

What we have learned…back to back vacations were fun but we were ready for home.  Melea is a great traveler as well! Schedule Sabbath days! 

What we are enjoying…end of summer fun, nice days, running, being outside, trips, laughing a lot, and being together. 

What are struggles…little miss still needs to work on her sleeping habits at night and we need to figure out what’s causing diaper rash (switching diapers seems to have helped some. Who knew a kid would be sensitive to Honest company diapers?! I’m a bit sad to say good-bye to all the cute little prints!). 

Most exciting milestones…standing, a few kinda steps, two top teeth, first time in the Gulf, and first airplane rides! 

What Melea seems to like…finding where Asher is playing, being held by mommy, chewing, touching Boaz, reading books, being in the bath (she comes fast whenever she hears the water start!), and music! 

Dislikes seem to be…being set down or when people leave the room, diaper changes (so squirmy!!), being put in the car seat–thankfully she does okay once she’s in it!

What sleep looks like…she gives us a good morning and evening nap and sometimes another one. Bedtime is still around 8:30-9:30 and she still loves to wake up and eat a few times a night. She wakes up earlier than Asher still but still sleeps until like 8ish. 

She’s eating…anything and everything! Though, we’ve been trying to see if the diaper rash is related to any foods. We still love baby led weaning! 

Who we have seen…lots of relatives! Jack and Emily’s wedding brought everyone who could come. Then my cousin’s wedding had more people too. Plus, we got to see the Paradees for our vacation and race. So thankful for good friends! We got to see Carrie, Micah, and Isaiah too before picking up June who we also saw! 

At the last doctors appointment…she’s still doing great! Still hanging around 8-10% and about 16 pounds. She’s around the 60% for height. Wearing a few 6 month but really more into 9 month clothing. Still in size 3 diapers. Getting some more hair too. 

5 Minute Bible 100 Stories & 100 Songs

I’m continuing to expand my collection of children’s storybooks and this one fit right onto my shelf!

I love when the storybooks include some of the lesser known stories and passages. They chose to include the beatitudes, the wise man built his house, throwing the first stone, parable of the pearl, Naaman, Samson, Balaam, and many more. I appreciate this approach so that I can pull from the whole Bible rather than only get stuck on stories like David and Goliath. 

The songs included are great for preschoolers as are the length of the content. Each story also includes a summary/main point and an action point for the kids. For example, I will pray when I need help. This helps put the Bible into action in a tangible way. 

The stories show Bible references and are summarized into shorter sentences geared toward kids. Some are a little simplistic for my taste and are not the easiest to read but I appreciate they give the general idea. There is also only one picture per story.  They are okay pictures–kid friendly but not the best compared to other storybooks. 

The big draw for this one to me is that it includes lesser known stories. This book will be used in conjunction with others! 

Disclosure: I received this for free and all opinions are my own! 

Cultivate by Lara Casey

I have loosely followed Lara Casey for quite a while now. I love making goals so I’ve seen a lot about her powersheets and Making Things Happen conference. I also read her first book Make it Happen. I enjoy a lot of her work and also know that she can stick to the same core principles/themes. 

This book fell into line with what you will see on her blog and instagram account. She seems to love to encouraging others and point them back to God. This book focused on doing the same. She focused on teaching and sharing how she had worked at cultivating faith and other things in her life. 

She shares this by expounding on her own stories and including her exploration in gardening. 

Personally, I enjoyed hearing more of her story. Reading about their adoption and some of the day to day life in the garden. 

I also like how she adds intentional questions throughout the book for you to journal about and dig into!

All in all, I enjoyed the book and found it to be a good read with similar content. So, if you want more of what you see on the blog or instagram in a longer form then this might be a great book for you!

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Booklook but all opinions are my own!

NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible

Since I work in Children’s ministry, I have quite the collection of bibles and story bibles geared toward kids. I recently received the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible. 

I feel this is a great one to have on the shelf because of the extra additions. I love that this study bible incorporates so many extras–700 plus pictures, infographics, maps!  Though, be aware that most are not big.  They are more on the side of pages rather than taking up the whole page. I imagine this helped keep the Bible from getting too big.  The Bible is bigger than a normal one in size but not massive.  Still easy to carry around. The main part of the pages is the biblical text. This, to me, this still mainly functions as a Bible with extras. 

I love the heart behind showing what the temple looked like, what the coins were like, the land, and so much more. These visuals help bring to life the text. 

If you are looking for a Bible with lots of big pictures, I would not suggest this one. If you want something to help your child dig a little and see some smaller pictures with the focus still being on reading the Bible then this might be a good fit. For me, this would not be a must buy but would be a fun gift and a nice resource to use among other resources!
Disclosure: I received this for free from Booklook but all opinions are my own.

Chazown

Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast pops up on my must listen to list so I jumped at the chance to read Chazown. I love his practical and biblical wisdom. His style is great in my opinion for those looking for clear next steps and a way to apply what you learn. 
The book does an excellent job at guiding people through a process of discovering God’s purposes for you in life. Chapters included a “You’re the Author” section which was helpful to have a spot to do the “work” of answering questions and digging deeper. I made a point of doing each of these to help me get the most out of the book. Some people may not find them helpful. These would also be great for group discussion and would be a fun book to do in a group!  
Groeschel has us looking at our core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences to help us find our purpose. He also brings it back to prayin and seeking God. I appreciated the biblical foundation. 
I would suggest this this book for someone who is looking for personal vision and who does well working through questions!  
Disclosure: I got this book for free! All opinions are my own and I am very grateful for the book! 

7 and 8 Months

Melea! Just like that you turned 8 Months on the first. Life with you has been so sweet and full of joy! You’ve brought so much to our family and I am so glad you’re here. I’ve loved watching you grow and learn. You’re exploring and showing us more of your personality. I love seeing you with your brother and how you snuggle in close in the middle of the night. Most of the day, you’re on the move and most everyone comments how smiley you are. We’ve moved into our new house and have been filling our days with summer fun (and work!). Here’s an update from the last two months. 


What we have learned…Life is full and we are so thankful to have two kids in our house! Siblings are so fun and even when we may be stretched thin there is so much I love about this season. Our new house is great and a lot of work!

What we are enjoying
…playing! Reading lots of books. Having our own space! Our deck! Going on runs. 

What are struggles…
finding time to do all the necessary and fun things that come with summer!!

Most exciting milestones
…crawling like crazy, two little bottom teeth, pulling up, attempting standing, and eating more new foods!

What Melea seems to like
…crawling, standing, grabbing everything, chewing, trying to get Asher’s hair, wrestling Boaz, being held, and snuggling in mom and dad’s bed. 

Dislikes seem to be
…not being able to get the toy she wants and when people leave the room.  

What sleep looks like
…she still probably takes 2-3 naps and still waking up to eat or snuggle. Bedtime is probably around 8:30-9:30 and lately she’s been waking up before Asher and then napping around when he gets up around 8:30-9. We finally transitioned to the Nuna and that went fairly well!!


She’s eating
…anything and everything! She’s tried lots of new foods and we keep introducing new ones. Still doing baby led weaning! 

Who we have seen
…we had two parties for Asher at our new house one for each side of the family! We also went to the cousins weekend at Ruth and Michael’s where Melea had fun going in the lake. 

At the last doctors appointment
…she’s still rocking the petite category! She’s around the 8-10% for weight and weighed 14 lb 10 oz at her doctor’s appointment. She’s wearing 6 and 9 month clothing. Wearing size 3 diapers and getting back in some cloth diapers! The cloth are finally fitting nicely.