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.


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. 

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

I recently finished Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionallu Healthy Spirituality!  This book has been on my list for a long time so I was glad to read it. With a background in counseling, I felt that the book did a great job at scratching the surface on some areas for people to examine. 

I appreciated that the book really reinforced the idea of looking back to see how our families of origin have impacted our behaviors. Scazzero gives lots of personal examples. I do believe that many people could read these and move on without doing some of the work. I saw the book as a nudge for people to go see a counselor to work through issues. I did see that he has a workbook and small group format. These would be great resources because the book itself is not a substitute for counseling. The book could have used some questions and directives for people to know what next steps to take to grow in maturity. 

I will say that the section on sabbath was particularly convicting and relevant for me. I felt the author did a great job explaining the importance of rest to our spiritual lives. This section really resonated with me. 

I would suggest this book to go alongside counseling or an engaged small group. This is a great launching point to stir up a desire for emotional health!

Disclosure: I received this book for free and am very thankful for the opportunity to read it. All opinions are my own!