Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

A Very Bookish Birthday January 18, 2022

Friday was my 36th birthday! I love birthdays! I adore a day where I get to set the plan and pick all the places to eat. Mostly birthdays are about food for me, but this year, I had another theme – books! I’m definitely heading into 2022 and 36 with books on the brain. My birthday plans this year revolved around visiting bookstores in Portland, OR as well as stopping at a few other favorites like Target and Costco. I love a trip to the big city!

My first bookstore of choice was Powell’s City of Books on Burnside. The flagship store of the Powell’s empire is funky and fun. Jeremy helped the boys each pick a new book (their children’s department might be my favorite part of the store) as I wondered quietly through rows of books. If visiting one Powell’s wasn’t enough, I also visited their Cedar Hills location and the Amazon Bookstore. It was a really good day! To be cozy while reading, I updated my sweatshirt wardrobe and came away with a super cute reusable cup from Starbucks. It was a victorious and very Amy shopping day! So many favorite things!

To make our outing a bigger adventure, we opted to spend the night in the city. Our boys are always up for a hotel experience especially if there is a pool! We planned to take off the next morning for Camp 18 in Elsie for breakfast and a day at the beach. However, our beach plans changed due to a tsunami advisory. We still made it to breakfast at Camp 18, because we have priorities, and food is high on the list! Instead of heading to the beach, we ran some errands and took off for home earlier than expected. January has been wild! The first weekend had compact snow and ice still on the ground. The second weekend had flooding and now the third weekend had a tsunami advisory. Kind of makes me wonder what might happen next…

Our trip was sandwiched between family dinners with my parents and Jeremy’s parents. I feel very loved and celebrated! Like I said, food is a big deal for me when it comes to my birthday. I am always grateful when I don’t have to make dinner! The birthday menu (spread out over the weekend – it feels important to say that) included my favorite foods like pizza, orange chicken, mac and cheese, French toast and waffles. Chocolate, lemon, and red velvet cake were also consumed! Plus, a free birthday drink from Starbucks is always a treat!

I’ve also been book shopping online. I pre-ordered a new release from one of my favorite authors, Roseanna M. White. I also placed a Thrift Books order. I will admit that I’ve never been a fan of “used” items, but I’ve recently found a fondness for used books. First, they are cheaper. Books have gotten expensive and buying used gives me more bang for my buck. Also, I now like the look of an aged and well-worn book. Gives me cozy vibes! Thrift Books has quickly become a favorite for me. Not only do I get a great price on used books, but they have a reward system that allows me to earn free books. I’m all about free books!

Okay, indulge me one more bookish moment, I also reorganized my bookshelves yesterday. My system was loosely based on genre and it wasn’t working for me anymore. I decided to arrange alphabetically author. This was fairly simple with fiction because I have so many series’ in my collection. Non-fiction took a bit more work, but I like the finished project. I have room to grow my home library and a logical place for my future purchases. Also, I got rid of quite a bit of dust that was hiding behind all my books, so it was a fresh start in more than one way!

Now that all the big birthday celebrating is behind me, we are looking at a business-as-usual/have-to-be-a-grown-up type week. A three day school week means the workload is heavier and we have to focus more. I have my COVID booster coming up on Thursday. Nothing like heading into the weekend with the potential of feeling crummy. I’m optimistic the good book vibes and leftover birthday cake will carry me through!

My mom is so sweet! She orders me this chocolate cake from Safeway each year and it’s become a birthday tradition. A yummy tradition!
Watching for the streetcar in downtown Portland
Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s Books at Cider Hills Crossing
Thankful for this man! He made my birthday/bookstore dreams come true!
My book haul from Powell’s
Pool time! I’m not a water bug, but after my time in the hot tub, I love watching these guys play!
Enjoying a birthday bundlet!
We love family adventures!
Camp 18 is always an experience!
These are a few of my favorite things! Books from Powell’s, journals and two sweatshirts from Costco, cup and two sweatshirts from Target!
Reading his new Magic Tree house book from Powell’s
Graham was very excited to take his new Christmas game over to Nana & Papa’s. He aske me to take this picture.
Celebrating at Nana & Papa’s House
Graham thought I was making an obstacle course for him with books!
 

Thoughts on Reading in 2022 January 11, 2022

Merry Bookmas! Such a happy sight!

The start of 2022 has mostly been spent at home. Last week was set at a slower pace so we could get back into the school routine. Our weekend plans were slightly altered by local flooding. My childhood home was flooded in 1996 and though I live on a hill now, flooding raises my anxiety level and stirs uncertainty. My appointment to get my COVID booster was rescheduled because the pharmacy was closed due to flooding nearby. Our boys were able to get their second vaccine dose over the weekend as the area reopened. We went into a very empty Safeway afterwards to find celebration donuts. Even though the shelves were almost bare, there were donuts in the case. Praise the Lord!

The major highlight of this last week for me was packages arriving filled with books and book-related things! I used Christmas cash to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite, an assortment of books, and two journals. One journal is a reading journal. I’ve kept lists of what I’ve read yearly, but I’ve never journaled about my reading. I am looking forward to using this journal as a companion to my reading year. It has space to document 100 books and I’ve decided 100 books will be my reading goal for 2022.

I’ve been thinking about my reading life – what it’s looked like and what I want it to look like. In 2020 and 2021, I read more books than I ever expected. To expand beyond my limited home library, I’ve taken to following the recommendations of others. This habit of asking around has led me to many books that I loved and some I didn’t. I wish that books came with ratings like movies. If a book has too much language, violence, darkness, or sex, it makes me uncomfortable. I had a light bulb moment as I was reading in my new book journal (My Reading Life: A Book Journal by Anne Bogel). Anne suggested that you search for content warnings online before starting a new book. I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before! I hope to be a more informed reader in 2022. Not to focus on the negative, I read many great books I loved with no reservation. I also don’t share this as judgement of those who might hold different reading tastes than my own. I’ll still be asking for recommendations. I’ll just do more research in advance of placing a library hold.

I mentioned in my last post, I plan to change how I blog about reading. Instead of sharing a short paragraph about each book I read in a month, I’ll change to a list with a star-rating. I’ve started using my Goodreads account again and I plan to use their star-rating system. I have so. many. words. when it comes to books and my monthly posts have gotten too long. I’ll share about my favorite non-fiction and fiction books of the month with reasons why beyond the star-rating. There is a comment section on each post, so if you ever have a question about a book I list, please feel free to ask and we can dive into a deeper conversation on that title.

I am also excited to be a part of a new book club with a few friends (we technically haven’t met yet, but we’re working on it). One of my friends came up with the idea of meeting once a month to talk about books – any book. It could be one we’ve read recently or in the past or one we’re eyeing. It can be hard for moms to all read the same book at the same time and come ready for a discussion. This will take the pressure off of finding material we all like and completing it on a timeline. I love hearing about what others are reading and I can see my to-be-read list growing as a result. I also love talking about my current reads. I’m positive this will be a good outlet for me in more than one way!

As you can see, I’ve thought quite a bit about reading in 2022. I want to be intentional with my reading and my time. I read for both pleasure and growth. I want to have a diverse reading life. Some of the most impacting books I’ve read have been by people very different from me. Seeing the world through their lens has been life-altering. I don’t want to shirk from books that make me uncomfortable. I just want it to be for the right reasons. All this talk about books has me excited to share my reading list with you at the end of the month. I’m certainly starting out 2022 with plenty to read. I’m in book heaven! Woo hoo!

It’s been a slow photo week. But in the theme of books, this is the new book we are using for art. The kids love Mo Willems and they are having fun drawing their favorite characters!
Jeremy made homemade soup and bread on Friday! Very impressive and tasty!
Wrapping up dose number two! So proud of these brave kiddos!
 

Happy New Year! January 4, 2022

We made it to 2022! This week is back to school for the boys and I and back to work for Jeremy. We loved our month of December with Jeremy on sabbatical. Our family had so much fun with all the Christmas activities and celebrations. Like most, we weren’t ready for the vacation vibes to end. We have an intentionally quiet week at home to help us ease back into routine.

We wrapped up 2021 with a shopping trip to Portland. Even though the roads around our house were snow/ice, the freeway was fine and the roads improved as we went south. The stores were hit hard by Christmas, low staff, and low stock. The snow certainly didn’t help. The boys each got LEGO sets and then we hopped online to shop for the items that were missing in the stores. Mostly, we just wanted a day to get out of the house after a few snow days. Our shopping tradition after Christmas isn’t about the items we purchase, it’s about spending the day as a family in the big city.

Our weekend was all about snow and family. We celebrated my sister’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. Jeremy attached the sled to our riding lawn mower and that became a big hit on Friday and Saturday. We had some of the cousins (and their parents) over on Saturday for games and snow fun. After we played at our house, we dropped the kiddos at Nana & Papa’s house and the parents went to see the newest Spider-Man movie. I haven’t been to the theaters since Frozen II in 2019! It was good to get back to the movies, but I honestly love streaming at home just as much (probably even more). It was a treat to go on a double date and have some kid-free time with other adults – this rarely happens in my world.

As I reflect on 2021, I am grateful. The beginning of the year started quietly with COVID restrictions and stay-at-home orders revived. We celebrated Jeremy turning 40 in the spring with a “spring break” trip to Oregon. We thrived in homeschooling and wrapped up preschool for Graham and 1st grade for Owen with a family celebration at the end of May. Our summer was full of local-ish adventures. We visited the WA/OR coast, Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We enjoyed swim lessons in the month of August. We started our second year of homeschooling in the fall. The boys turned 8 and 6 in October with family adventure days to the Space Needle and Top Golf. November was our magical trip to Disneyland. December wrapped up the year with Jeremy’s sabbatical filled with family time and Christmas adventures. Despite the hardships of living in a pandemic world, our family experienced so much goodness in 2021.

Thanks to the pandemic, my expectations for goal setting have gone way down. Last year, my goals were to beat my 2020 reading total and to decorate sugar cookies once a month. I succeeded in both those goals and had a blast investing in my hobbies. As I look to 2022, my current goals are to read the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books for the first time. They are on most recommended reading list that I encounter. I’m ready to find out why. I plan to change how I keep track of my reading and how I rate books. I will also tweak how I blog about my reading this year. My one serious goal for 2022 is to get back to church in-person. I have reservations about in-person church, but it’s important that our kids get back into a faith community. Because of homeschooling, it will be beneficial for them to be in a classroom environment with peers again.

That about does it! Wrapping up 2021, welcoming 2022. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2022. I am believing that the same goodness I found in 2020 and 2021 will be present in 2022. God’s faithfulness never falters. Life has taken unexpected turns with the pandemic, but I’ll just keep doing the best I can with what I’ve got. God can work with that. He makes up the difference. I can go into 2022 knowing that God goes with me – before me, beside me, behind me. I am not alone and I can do this with him.

Introduced the kids to World Market. The boys fell in love with this chair. Our big purchase from this store was coconut syrup from Hawaii.
Post shopping LEGO building
Checking on the chickens
Blue skies and tractor rides
Making memories with the cousins
Movie date!
My 2021 goal of decorating cookies!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – December 2021 December 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:33 am
Ending the year at 178 books read. I beat my goal of 138 which was one more than my 2020 total. I beat my new goal of 175. I have no clue if I will ever read this many books in a year again, but I am so thankful for this reading year. Reading has taken on a new level of meaning in my life and is truly one of my greatest passions.
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – This Swedish author and his novels came highly recommended. His name and this title were popping up again and again in my reading circles. I really enjoyed this book and I plan to read more of his work. I will say that the novel started slow for me and unfolded like a mystery or a puzzle. I wanted all the pieces to come together faster and that is how this book hooked me. The cast of characters is unexpected and original. I was crying by the end. It all wrapped up so beautifully and yet I didn’t want it to end.
  • The Christmas Cat, An Irish Christmas, All I Have to Give, The Christmas Dog, A Simple Christmas Wish, Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson – I tried to read as many Christmas novels as I could this month. As a result, I barely watched any of the Hallmark Christmas movies. I just couldn’t manage both. Sorry, Hallmark! Melody Carlson’s Christmas novels are short, sweet, and heart-warming. The same vibes of a Hallmark movie with slightly more plot. These novels helped grow my reading total by quite a bit because I could read through them in less than a day.
  • Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis – This looks like a holiday/wintertime novel from the cover. There is a snowstorm that leads to the main characters meeting, but really no holiday vibes. I enjoyed the plot of this novel. It was well-developed and interesting. However, it was a bit too PG-13 for my taste. It was a good story, but left me disappointed in parts.
  • Finding Father Christmas, Engaging Father Christmas, and Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – I own these as eBooks and decided to purchase used copies to add to my RJG collection. I’ve been a huge fan of Gunn since middle school and my bookshelf is full of her novels. I felt these works needed to join my home library. These Christmas stories are a favorite that I will return to in the future for both Christmas and mystery vibes.
  • Echoes & Sunsets (The Glenbrooke Series Books 3 & 4) by Robin Jones Gunn – While waiting for books to arrive at the library, I reached for The Glenbrooke Series to keep me reading. I read the first two books last month and I’m now halfway through the series (for probably the 5th or 6th time). This series is my comfort reading of choice. With the small town of Glenbrooke being the connection point for all these stories, I love the world that Gunn creates and how she brings her characters together.
  • Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson – A friend brought this book over for me to look at and I promptly requested it from the library. This book is all about the power of reading and what books can do to transform our lives (which totally speaks to my soul). It’s also filled with book recommendations. Since there were so many book lists included, I might have to pick up my own copy to use as a reference when I need a new title.
  • Sweet Right Here by Jenny B. Jones – I’ve enjoyed Jones’ novels, but this one wasn’t one of my favorites, if I’m being honest. I love the Sugar Creek cast of characters that Jones has created. I’m all about revisiting fictional communities and adding layers to stories I’ve already read. This romantic comedy felt a bit superficial in the attraction of the main character. The storyline around veterans, therapy, and unresolved father issues added depth to the story and salvaged the more shallow moments for me.
  • The Complete Christmas Stories by L.M. Montgomery – I got this collection of short Christmas stories for free on my Kindle app. It’s a personal goal to read all things written by LMM, so I added this to my Christmas reading list. The first short story wasn’t a happy Christmas tale, but the rest were inspiring, humorous, and uplifting.
  • The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo – This YA Christmas novel takes place a tourist town where a famous movie was filmed. The tourist details set up many of the activities featured in the book and create the work environment for the cast of characters. The two main characters have secret interests which they discover about each other when they accidently grab the wrong phone. This novel was sort-of-holiday-ish and had a good message about being honest, especially with those you love.
  • The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss – A women decides to put herself out there through a dating organization that sets up 12 dates before Christmas. The dates as you can imagine turn out to be a disaster and in the plot twist we all saw coming from the start, the main character finds that love was under her nose the whole time (not a spoiler, the back of the book says so). I enjoyed moments of this book, but it was too PG-13 for my liking.
  • Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley – This book was on a recommended reading list for Enneagram Type Ones. I watched a MOPS talk by this author a few years ago so I decided to give the book a try. It was honest, deep, and healing. It felt like a sacred conversation. The philosophy of “always we begin again” was enlightening for me as I process engaging again in a world changed by the pandemic.
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks―Super Easy!: 120 Shortcut Recipes for Dinners, Desserts, and More by Ree Drummond – No joke, I read Ree’s cookbooks from cover to cover before I cook from them. She is hilarious and her cookbooks include so much about her life and family, not to mention the pictures! Her cookbooks are an experience even if you never make a single recipe. I adore the concept of super easy with store bought shortcuts and simplified recipes. I’m not a great cook, but PW inspires me (or at least entertains me)!
 

Small Moments Make The Holidays Special December 12, 2021

We’ve slowed the pace down this week. We’ve found a good routine with Jeremy being home on sabbatical. While the boys and I do school, Jeremy does a project around the house. Our garage, well house, files, and master closet are very well organized now. Our afternoons and evenings have been filled with books, music, movies, free play, and hot tub time.

On Wednesday, we drove through a light display in a local park. On Thursday, Jeremy took turns shopping with the boys so they could shop for each other. We also had family over for Chinese take-out. Yum! Our only plans for Friday were to make rice crispy treats and watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. Not a bad to-do list!

We got our Christmas cards into the mail this week and the boys’ letters to Santa. The big item on their wish list is LEGO Super Mario sets. I daily do my best to patiently listen to all the joy these sets will bring to their lives.

My childhood Christmas soundtrack was Amy Grant albums. It dawned on me that my children will have “Holiday Favorites” on Amazon Music as their childhood Christmas soundtrack. We are either listening to Christmas music or singing it to yourselves all day long.

We’ve been taking walks to the mailbox to look for packages. It’s been chilly so our walks are quick and motivated. We’ve seen snowflakes multiple times this week. Today we had a light slush stay around for part of the morning.

Friends are coming over tomorrow for a Christmas cookie decorating playdate. I happily baked an assortment of butter cookies, gingerbread, and snickerdoodles this morning. I have cider ready to share with my mom friend while our kids make a mess with frosting and sprinkles. Owen has requested that I let them pipe the icing. We’ll let the icing and creativity flow!

With one more week left of school, the kids are in countdown mode (I might be too). Countdown to Christmas break, countdown to family gatherings, countdowns to outings. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of this last week before it picks up again. It’s been a chance to be present in all the small moments that make this season so special.

Every year I wonder if they’ll be able to keep a secret from each other!
My kitchen helpers!
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a family tradition! The boys’ current favorite Christmas movie is The Grinch (we’ve watched it twice and the original cartoon to compare). For a long time it as The Polar Express (on repeat all holiday season).
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Let It Snow!
The wonder of snowflakes!
Our Christmas card this year fits the theme of a Disney Christmas!
Cookies ready for decorating and nibbling!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – November 2021 November 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 4:44 pm
2021 Total to Date: 158 books… Wondering if I can hit 175 before the end of the year!
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (Book 1) by Trenton Lee Stewart -A friend let me borrow this books at her recommendation. Apparently, there is a Disney+ show based on it. I found this children’s book to be quite suspenseful. It had define secret agent meets child genius vibes. It was a thick book and took a bit of time to finish, but now I’m hooked. I can’t wait to see how the series pans out.
  • No Cure For Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) by Kate Bowler – Bowler’s memoirs are deeply moving and I highly recommend them. She deconstructions clichĂ©s and faces the truth of life with honesty and resilience. As a cancer survivor, she realizes that life has limitations and good vibes only go so far. Her perspective on self-help as been enlightening for me. I’m thankful for her voice in a culture that says try harder, do more, your best life is right around the corner.
  • Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk, and Act in Kindness by Houston Kraft – Another book recommendation from a friend. I thought this book would be from a Christian perspective, so I was surprised to find it was written by someone who speaks on kindness to middle/high school students in school assemblies. This book was powerful and even though Jesus wasn’t mentioned, Jesus-concepts filled this book. As a parent, I found it inspiring to know that this deep kindness concept is being shared in schools. As an adult, I realized I need this message just as much as the next generation.
  • The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox – Another friend recommendation. You’ll hear that a lot. I very rarely stumble on good books by myself! This holiday book has been popping all over the place in my reading circles. It’s a light, cozy, Hallmark-ish Christmas tale about twin sisters who switch places before the holidays and fall in love. I loved the Christmas vibes.
  • Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace by Osheta Moore – I originally picked up a digital copy of this book from the library, but a few chapters in, I hopped online and bought my own paperback copy. This is a book that I will read again… and again… I watched a MOPS video with Osheta a few years ago and I was drawn her to peacemaking ways. I’m having a hard time nailing this book down in words. It was just so good, insightful, honest, empowering, and life-changing. I would recommended this book to everyone!
  • Secrets & Whispers (The Glenbrooke Series Books 1 & 2) by Robin Jones Gunn – These were my airplane/vacation books. I’ve read them so many times that I knew my brain wouldn’t need to be super focused to follow the plot – and I don’t mean that offensively. They are comfortable, familiar friends. I love that the books in The Glenbrooke series build on each other slightly, but also pass as stand alone novels. As I wait for library books to be available this next month, I hope to weave the rest of the series (six more books) into my reading.
  • Save the Date & His Mistletoe Miracle by Jenny B. Jones – I read these books about the Sinclair twins this summer. I re-read them because I needed books already loaded on my tablet when I finished my paperback on the plane. Again, an already-read book is perfect for the plane since I knew the stories. I’m in the process of getting paperback versions of these books along with the book about their sister, Finley, in There You’ll Find Me. I love a good sibling series!
  • The Perfectionist: Growing as an Enneagram 1 (60-Day Enneagram Devotional) by Elisabeth Bennett – An Enneagram Seven friend said she was enjoying this devotional book for her type, so I decided to pick up one for my type one self. This Enneagram devotional went deeper than the usual surface information I’ve hear about type ones over and over again. I’m kind of sad I finished it because it was providing me with such insightful moments to wrestle with the highs and lows of my type.
  • The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys – This was Courty’s Book Club fiction pick for November. The book is set in Marid in 1957 under the dictatorship of Franco. It’s a thick book told from the perspective of many characters. Because the theme of the book revolves around secrets and silence, it take a while for the plot to unfold. Once the pieces started to click into place, it’s was mind-blowing and heartbreaking. While I didn’t love the 18 year gap at the end of the story, I was thankful for the happy(ish) ending that was unfolding on the final pages.
  • The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson – If you’ve read my book lists before, you know Carlson is a go-to author me. Especially, her Christmas books. This one was a bit different from the others I’ve read. Four members of a book club ban together after the unexpected death of the friend that held their group together. They grow closer as they see each other in a new light and heal together through the holidays.

 

What I’ve Been Reading – October 2021 October 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:24 pm
I surpassed my 2020 record of 138 books in a year. I’m at 145 books read at the close of October. I will be curious to see the grand total for 2021.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – A few books that I have read recently mentioned/quoted Jane Eyre. While I knew the basic plot, I’d never read the book. This book had some spooky vibes and I’m thankful I knew the plot, so I didn’t get too freaked out. Very tense, but I enjoyed it! I’m glad I decided to read for myself.
  • Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler – This academic look at the prosperity gospel was fascinating. I appreciated the historical approach to uncovering this movement and what it stands for. It’s eye opening to see this belief system in the fringe of my own church experiences. Bowler also has an academic work on preachers’ wives and evangelical women celebrities that I have my eye on as well. I can’t wait to wade through more history with Bowler.
  • Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin – This book is all about habits and how they are formed and what makes them stick. I loved Rubin’s approach to how different personality types come at habits in different ways. While Rubin and I seem very spot on in our personalities and love of habits, the book helped me process how others develop in a different way than I do.
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – This book came recommended from a friend and I placed it on hold at the library without too much information on what it was about. This book provided more spooky vibes for the month of October. Think potions, poisons, science, magic, and murder. I enjoyed the jump between historical fiction and modern times. Not my favorite read of the month, but once I started it, I wanted to know how it ended.
  • Skyhunter & Steelstriker by Marie Lu – This book came recommended because I enjoyed Lu’s Legend series and I was told it had Hunger Games vibes (which was very true). For the most part I enjoy dystopian novels. It’s always interesting to see how an author envisions the world after our current culture is no more. Apparently October is spooky season (not my usual practice), parts of this book definitely had spooky vibes in a sci-fiction kind of way.
  • Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber – From the author of the Caraval series, this book picks up where the series left off and takes the reader into new lands with new magic. The hard part for me with this new release was finishing the book and knowing it would be a cliff hanger. Now I have to wait not so patiently to find out what happens next!
  • Becoming Us & Becoming Known (The Haven Makers Series) by Robin Jones Gunn – After some intense fiction this month, I wanted to head into some comfort reading. The Heaven Makers series includes two of my favorite Robin Jones Gunn characters, Christy and Sierra, while introducing a new set of friendships. This series isn’t complete and re-reading these books made me wonder when we’ll find out what happens next for this group of five friends.
  • Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii by Robin Jones Gunn – Again, comfort reading! Sierra’s Hawaiian love story is one of my favorites. Sierra is one of the Haven Makers mentioned above and revisiting her love story felt like a good choice!
  • Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff – I read this book about 8 years ago and I was struck that Bob Goff lives anything but a normal life. His stories are fantastic and sometimes almost seem unbelievable. I often shake my head and laugh as I read his work. I appreciate how he weaves faith through his life adventures and invites his readers to join him on this wild ride. I think after re-reading Love Does, I’ll have to re-read Everybody, Always next month. His books are like a catching up with a good friend, motivational speaker, and crazy uncle all in one!
 

The Best Month of Fall October 3, 2021

It’s the best month of fall! Or really the best month of all! October is my favorite!!! I’m ready to embrace all the autumn traditions, eat all the yummy treats, revel in all the beautiful colors, and celebrate all the birthdays! (So. Many. Birthdays.) October is simply the best and it’s finally here. Some people countdown to Christmas. I countdown to October. For some this is spooky season, but we don’t really do spooky in this household. As Graham said this week “it’s pumpkin season!” That feels more accurate. Bring on all things orange!

We got a jump start on the October birthdays by celebrating with a friend who also has an October birthday on September 30th. It technically wasn’t October yet, but all three boys were less than a month away from their birthdays, so it was acceptable. It was funny because all the kids got books (shows you what type of moms these boys have). My guys got slime as a part of their gift. Let’s just say that slime isn’t a staple in our household… My boys are years behind the slime trend until now. Those containers of slime are seriously the best birthday present they ever received. Okay, not really, but they are big fans. Now that the first birthday gifts have been exchanged, the boys are anxiously counting down to their actual birthdays and family celebrations.

Our first autumn tradition of October was a visit to the corn maze. I like to visit the corn maze early in the season so it’s less busy. I’m thankful my hubby and boys (mostly Owen) love to read maps. Without them guiding me, I would wonder aimless until I stumbled on the exit by accident. The corn maze with my boys takes less than an hour and that is going through two separate mazes. I almost feel like we should do a timed challenge because it feels like a race. Left up to me, it would be a full day endeavor. So glad God made my guys with decent directional skills. They certainly make up for my lack!

Other autumn adventures for me include reading Jane Eyre for the first time. It’s been referenced enough recently that I decided I should read it for myself. Thanks to watching random movie clips over the years, I know the basic plot of the novel. If I didn’t know what was coming I would be rightly spooked from time to time. Even though I don’t do spooky, this book has those October vibes all over it.

I met up with my forever friend, Maggie, for lunch yesterday. Hashing out life with this dear friend is one of my favorite things to do! She is an amazing woman and I am so thankful we get to walk alongside each other through all the ups and downs of life. I had a fantastic mini pizza and mini piezookie at BJ’s Brewhouse. My soul and my tummy left our time together very happy!

It’s been a drizzly sort of day here despite the fact that my weather app says it’s not raining. Sundays are a favorite with me recently. We usually don’t have plans and I’m back to watching online church so it’s a good, settled in at home kind of day. I’ve done some tidying to reset for the week. I watched church while baking my October sugar cookies. Very cozy and yet productive vibes. After a couple days of back-to-back activity, it’s nice to have no where to go and really nothing pressing to do. Rest days at home are the best! And with that being said, I’m going to hunker down to do some journaling and reading. Not a bad way to spend a day!

A rare and wonderful sight! Trying my best to raise readers! This week Owen had a new book arrive and he was jazzed. Graham followed suit with his school reader.
I also made chocolate chip cookies for our birthday play date this week. A classic for company!
Love our family outings on Fridays! So much fun!
If I didn’t know the paths met up this would stress me out.
Meeting Jane
Love my time with Maggie May!
These are a few of my favorite things!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2021 September 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:55 pm
After a lot of fiction the last few months, I added some non-fiction back into my reading diet. I adore fiction, but it was nice to have a change and process some interesting topics.

Fiction

  • Finale by Stephanie Garber – This was the conclusion to the Caraval series. I loved the first book and had reservations about the second book, so I was curious if I would like the third book. The answer is yes! I did like it. I enjoyed seeing the story from the perspective of both sisters. As a finale to the series, I was surprised with the ending.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud – This book was Courty’s fiction pick this month. It’s a story of a girl kidnapped from her family to be a body double for a mean princess. While it sounded appealing, I will admit that this book fell a little flat for me. I didn’t love it or hate it. I just learned that it’s the first book of two which makes sense since the ending left a lot of questions unanswered. I now have book two on hold at the library. Maybe book two will improve my opinion.
  • Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – My monthly dose of LMM. I love visiting Prince Edward Island. These two novels are about Anne’s children. Rilla of Ingleside is a favorite of mine, but the WWI plotline always makes me cry.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – This novel takes a look at the value of life and getting a chance to see if the grass is greener on the other side. The main character tries out different versions of her life based the many directions her life could have gone. It was interesting and a good reminder that we are here in this life for a reason. Our lives matter in ways we don’t realize or understand.
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay – A lovely novel about a girl coming out of the foster system who is given a grant to go to grad school. She must write letters to the founder of the foundation that offered her the grant while she’s in school. I loved that the main character was a book nerd who lived through classic characters and then learns to live and love in the real world again.
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter – This book is about a girl who sells moths so she can give herself a better education and future. It’s set in the swamps of Indiana and the sequel to the novel Freckles (which I enjoyed immensely). While I’m not very interested in swamps and moths, the story is wonderful.
  • Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong – This new release felt like a classic rom-com when I read the description. The main character uses a list from the 1950’s to find dates while her brother’s roommate films the escapades for a YouTube show. Super cute and very funny!
  • Resort to Love Series by Angela Ruth Strong – Love Finds You in Sun Valley, ID, Finding Love in Big Sky, MT, Finding Love in Park City, UT, Finding Love in Eureka, CA, Finding Love in Seaside, OR – I’ve owned the first book in this series for years, but never knew it was a series until this month! The series follows five brothers each taking their turn to find love. It was a fun to reconnect with characters I met years ago and see how the whole family story came together.

Non-Fiction

  • Don’t Over Think It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel – This was Courty’s non-fiction pick this month. I’ve never read Anne Bogel before and as you can see from my next two books listed, I binge read all her works this month. Over thinking is something I struggle with and this book was both practical and encouraging. This was one of the better books I’ve read on the subject.
  • Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel – I love talking personality! I’m a huge fan of the Myers-Briggs assessment and the Enneagram. One of the funny moments from this book is that Bogel thinks my ISTJ personality is similar to Marilla Cuthburt in the Anne books. The older I get, I will admit that I understand and relate to Marilla more. The connection made me chuckle.
  • I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel – This small book made my soul smile. A whole book dedicated to the love of books and reading made me feel understood. As an avid reader who often feels like I’m alone (or weird) in my intense love of reading, this book felt like finding a kindred spirit.
  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez – I’ll be honest, this book was heavy and very political. As someone who avoids politics, I knew it would be a difficult read, but I’d heard enough about the book that I wanted to read it for myself. This book left me with lots to process. It reminded me to seek Jesus above culture. Hard topics can lead to beneficial processing and this book provided that for me.
  • People to be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle – This was a staff read by our church this month. The topic gripped my heart, especially as a parent. I know it’s important to process this topic so I will be prepared for conversations with my kids and others in the future. I appreciated Sprinkle breaking down both affirming and non-affirming perspectives. He did a great job of sharing his study of what the Bible says and how to love a community of people who have been deeply hurt by the church. This is a resources I will return to in the future. I am grateful for the personal wrestling I had to do while reading this book. It was a worthwhile and impactful read.
  • Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst – A friend lent me this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect based off the title, but I knew I’ve enjoyed TerKeurst’s books in the past. The book spoke to controlling our emotions and the meltdown spiral that can happen – especially when rubbed the wrong way by those closest to us. I gleaned wisdom and good reminders from this book.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – August 2021 August 31, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:49 am
Magic, fairy tales retold, and Anne!
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – Scarlett, Cress, Winter, Stars Above – I loved The Lunar Chronicles! I bought the books after I finished the series because I knew I would want to read them again. These sci-fi retellings of classic fairy tales remind me of why I love the television show Once Upon a Time. I am fascinated by taking a well-known story and adding a modern/new twist on the beloved tale.
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer – After reading The Lunar Chronicles, this prequel to Alice in Wonderland came recommend. It’s the story of how the Queen of Hearts became heartless. While I found the tale interesting, I will admit that I’ve never been drawn to the world of Wonderland. This book didn’t compare to The Lunar Chronicles, in my opinion.
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Han, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – This book was a hilarious and irreverent re-take on English history. The book has vibes like The Princess Bride and it had me laughing out loud. The magic in the book was a surprise to me since I really knew nothing of the plot before starting it. I liked how the authors humorously rewrote history to create their own version of a happily ever after.
  • Caraval & Legendary by Stephanie Garber – Caraval was the August book of the month for Courty’s Book Club (which I follow on Instagram). I loved it and couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. I was impatient for the book copy of Legendary to arrive at my library so I snagged the audiobook version which was available without delay. Caraval was magical, full of suspense, and the main character was very relatable to me (a sensible, cautious, protective older sister). Legendary is told from the perspective of the risk-taking, younger sister. The magic in Legendary is also darker than the first book, which I didn’t love. I’m learning that I don’t prefer audiobooks so that might also be why enjoyed Legendary less than Caraval. I’m waiting for the final book in the series now. The last book is told from the perspective of both sisters, so I wonder if I will like more.
  • The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson – When I’m looking for a quick, sweet read, I turn to Melody Carlson. There is also something fun about reading a Christmas book during the summer. The Christmas Shoppe featured in this novel was magical so it fit well into the theme of the month!
  • The Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside – I was able to get six of the eight Anne books read this month. I always like a little LMM in my month readings. Visiting Anne and Prince Edward Island is like a visiting a beloved friend.