Category Archives: Currently Reading

2016 Reading Goals

At the beginning of last year, I heard about something called “The Empty Shelf Project.” The idea was to empty a shelf somewhere in your home, and take a picture of it, and post it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever. Then, you place each book read over the course of the year on that shelf, along with pictorial progress. The idea being, at the end of the year, you have a (hopefully) full shelf, giving a great visual account of the books that have been read.

Aside from the organizational chaos that this would inflict on my precious library, I kind of liked this idea. And, I even toyed with the idea of participating. For about thirty seconds. And then reality set in. Good thing, because, here we are at the beginning of a new year, and my (virtual) shelf is still pathetically empty. (Well, unless books like The Cat in the Hat, or Winnie the Pooh count. Then I’m good!)

I have actually picked up several promising reads over the past 12 months. But, sadly, all but a few have been set aside only a few chapters, or in some cases, mere pages, in. Not because they haven’t been engaging, or encouraging, or convicting. Most of them were exactly that. And, I always had great intentions of finishing. But, there they sit, unfinished, days…weeks…months later.

I used to love the opportunity to stay up late, reading “just one more page.” That often turned into “just” one more chapter…which usually led to just finishing the book! But, these days, what little sleep I do get is far more precious than a few extra pages. And, because I am not a fiction reader (though sometimes, I wish I were!), right now, the mental energy and focus required to concentrate are just not there at the end of the day. And, during the day? Well, you just don’t take your eyes off of an active almost-4 year old, a very “determined” 2 year old, and a newly-mobile 9 month old! You just don’t.

2016 is only days old, and I have already seen several new reading challenges that I would love to participate in. Tim Challies posted one for everyone from the “light reader” to the “obsessed reader.” (And, that DA Carson plan?! Wow.) In years past, I would have jumped at the challenge to try and read over 100 books in a year. But, even though I could probably name 100 books that I would love to read this year (though maybe not across all genres), considering how few I’ve actually finished in the last 365 days, I probably need to be just a bit more realistic about my goals! Then, maybe I might finish more than just a few chapters here and there!

In no particular order, here are my reading goals for 2016. There may be more (I hope there will!), but my goal is to at least get through these…

2016 Books

  • The Pastor’s Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love, by Gloria Furman – I got this book for Christmas, so I actually started it before the new year began. But, I so appreciated Gloria Furman’s book, “Glimpses of Grace,” that I couldn’t wait to get into this one. As a pastor’s wife, I want to be equipped to effectively serve and minister to my husband, my family, and our church – graciously, joyfully, and realistically.
  • Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary, by Aimee Byrd – Honestly, I picked it up because of the title. I started reading it last summer, and did not get very far. But, I like what she has to say so far, and I really like where she is going!
  • A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God through a Daily Devotional Life, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (now Wolgemuth) – Because, prioritizing time with the Lord is essential…especially as a busy mom. But, it can be hard.
  • Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book, About A (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung – You will notice a theme to my reading material. Crazy-busy is a term I have used to describe my own life on many occasions – even before this book came out. This book has been on my “to be read” book for far too long.
  • The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years, by Heidi St. John – This is one of those books that I started last year, but… I heard Heidi St. John speak on the topic of homeschooling multiple ages, at last year’s homeschooling convention. I am currently homeschooling a 5th grader, 2 pre-schoolers (almost-4 years old, and 2 years old), and have an infant along for the ride. So it was very encouraging to hear someone speak to and from the experience of homeschooling a wide range of ages and abilities…and make it sound like it was possible to get other things done as well! I think I left her session, and immediately picked up her book…of course, I’ve been trying to read it since then.
  • Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel, by Russell Moore – I love analyzing and debating cultural trends and issues…even if only with myself. (Yes. I talk to myself.) But, I’m not very good at engaging. And, the idea of raising my children to both effectively navigate the world we live in, in a winsome, God-honoring way…honestly? It terrifies me. This was another Christmas present from my husband. I hadn’t actually heard of this book until I opened it on Christmas morning, but my husband knows me well.
  • Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith, by Larry Osborne – From the back cover: “Following Jesus is not a race to see who can be the most radical, sacrificial, knowledgeable, or burnt out for Jesus. It’s simply doing whatever He calls us to do, whether it’s radical and crazy or simple and mundane.” I picked this up a year or so ago because I have seen an attitude of “spiritual competition,” one-upsmanship, or a feeling of what “ought” to be done, and the resulting burn out devastate so many Christians. I don’t know much about this author, and I will admit the recommendation by Rick Warren gave me pause, but this book was recommended by a trusted friend. And, because I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen this topic addressed, I figured I would give it a chance.
  • Motherhood: Hope for Discouraged Moms, by Brenda Payne – It makes me sad to see words like discouragement, desperation, and despair being used so frequently, and so consistently to describe motherhood these days. While I have been discouraged at times, it doesn’t define my life as a mom, and I don’t want it to. So, I am reading this for myself, yes. But, I am also reading it because as I hear this from other young moms so often, I want to be able to encourage them, and give them biblical hope in those discouraging moments.
  • Run to Win the Prize: Perseverance in the New Testament, by Thomas R. Schreiner – My husband read this book last year. He said I have to read it too. So I am. Actually, the excerpts he read to me from another, much longer book by the same author on this topic are the real reason I picked this one up. But, with the limited reading time I have, my husband suggested that I start with this one.
  • Beautiful Girlhood, revised by Karen Andreola – Those years between childhood and womanhood are rapidly approaching. And, I want to be well-prepared to walk that road with my girls, and guide them as they grow up.
  • God’s Priorities for Today’s Woman: Discovering His Plan for You, by Lisa Hughes – Again, note the theme? Expectations are a burdensome thing. And, living under constantly changing expectations of what a “godly woman” is supposed to be can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the only expectations we are called to live up to are clearly outlined in Scripture.
  • True Beauty, by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre – While fashion and make up have never really been my “thing,” modesty, femininity, and the biblical definition of beauty is something I am very interested in. Based on the recommendations alone (Nancy Guthrie, Al and Mary Mohler, Kevin and Trisha DeYoung, Jani Ortlund), I am excited to read this!

What books are you reading this year? Let me know in the comments…I’m always looking to add to my list!

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Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Currently Reading, Thinking Biblically

What I’m Reading: 2013

I am finding that I have less time to read these days than I have in the past.
But, that obviously hasn’t stopped me from creating quite a list of titles I hope to read through this year.

From top to bottom:
Divine Design, by John MacArthur
Alone with God, by John MacArthur
The Hole in Our Holiness, by Kevin DeYoung
Beautiful Girlhood, revised by Karen Andreola
Women of Faith and Courage, by Vance Christie
Becoming A Woman of Spiritual Passion, by Donna Morley
Set Apart, by R. Kent Hughes
God’s Priorities for Today’s Woman, by Lisa Hughes
A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Practicing Hospitality, by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock
The Christian Race, by J.C. Ryle
Choosing Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
A Place of Quiet Rest, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
God in Everyday Life, by Brad Brandt and Eric Kress
The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo
Raising Real Men, by Hal and Melanie Young
The Joy of a Word Filled Family, by John Barnett
Day by Day with the English Puritans

Some of these are books that I started reading last year, but have not finished. Others are new additions to my “library.” And, some I’ve read before, but want/need to read again. This is not an exhaustive list…believe it or not, there are a few books that I would still like to add to this stack! And, as the year goes on, I’m sure I will do just that. But for now, this is what I am starting with…

How about you? What are you hoping (or planning) to read this year?


Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Currently Reading, Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically

What’s On Your Nightstand? {August}


On my nightstand this month:


(In comparison to other months, this is actually a somewhat abbreviated list.  Especially when you consider the fact that I have already finished two of them, and, aside from my Bible reading, I’ve just barely started the others.)


The Bible (ESV) – I am continuing with Professor Grant Horner’s Reading System.  With a few breaks here and there, I have been using this system for a couple of years now, and it is by far my favorite!!


Uneclipsing the Son, by Rick Holland


Choosing Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


1776, by David McCullough


A Love That Multiplies, by Jim Bob & Michelle DuggarThis book chronicles the premature birth, and health challenges of the Duggar’s youngest child, Josie.  It also looks at how the trials and difficulties of that experience both challenged and strengthened their faith, and their family.


Choosing to SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman – Mary Beth (wife of singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman) shares a glimpse into her life.  She candidly shares about her childhood, her struggles, her battle with depression, their adoption journeys, and the tragic death of one of her young daughters.  It is not an easy read.  But, even though it deals with some difficult subjects, I was surprised, at times, to find myself actually laughing out loud as I read.  This book is sad.    But, through the sadness and darkness, there are glimmers of hope…


(The last two books on this list were probably not the wisest choices in reading material…given my current state!  The topics are emotional to begin with.  And I have never been good at handling the “children in peril” plotline – whether fact or fiction.  But, add pregnancy hormones and heightened emotions to the mix, and…well, you have the perfect emotional storm!)




In addition to my nightstand…


The majority of my “reading time” has been consumed with these books:



These are my new “teacher edition” books.  I have been spending quite a bit of time getting to know them, and  creating schedules and lesson plans in preparation for, and anticipation of our first day of school!!



Filed under Currently Reading, Homeschooling, What's On Your Nightstand?

What’s On Your Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

Really?  It is time for the May edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” How is that even possible?!  Where have the weeks (and months!) gone?


Oh, right. They were lost somewhere in the sea of cardboard moving boxes, and the general chaos of settling in to a new home and town.


How long do you think I’ll be able to milk that excuse?  Because, it’s been almost 5 months…I think I’ve got at least one more “blame it on the move” month before it becomes obsolete. What do you think?


Actually, some (not all!) of the after-move chaos has passed, and, we have been able to settle in to something that is beginning to resemble a normal routine.  It has been lovely!


What was not so lovely, once all the books were unpacked, and placed on their respective shelves (organized by genre, and then alphabetically by author, of course) was the startling revelation that I had read every single book I own (or, I was in the process of finishing up the few that I hadn’t).


So, my husband took pity on me.  Within a matter of days, new books began arriving in our mailbox!  (Yep, he’s a keeper!!)  So, I have a nice little stack on my nightstand once again…



The Bible, ESV


Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth, by Albert Mohler – I always appreciate Al Mohler’s thoroughly biblical approach to current events and trends.  In this book, he addresses issues like politics, terrorism, natural disasters, abortion, public schools… I’m only a few pages in, and already, I’m hooked.  Looking forward to the rest!


Your Child’s Profession of Faith, by Dennis Gundersen – I wholeheartedly believe that it is possible for young children to be genuinely saved.  (I was.)  However, I also believe that it is possible for young children to make professions of salvation that are not rooted in genuine belief in Christ as Savior.  (I’ve seen many childhood professions recanted, as well.)  So, what is a parent to do?  I want, more than anything in this world, for my daughter to know and love Christ as her Savior.  But, I also do not want to be guilty of coaxing, or rejoicing at a false decision.  “I am very sympathetic to the concerns about misleading children into considering themselves saved individuals…The deceptive dangers of false profession are abundant…But do not allow your zeal for avoiding those to dampen you passion for your children’s conversion.” (pg. 24)


A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love, by Milton Vincent – We have a number of duplicates on our bookshelves.  Some might see it as extravagant, and perhaps it is.  This is one of them.  This little book has been on our shelves for some time, but “technically” it belonged to my husband.  We do occasionally share books (though not often, because I like highlighters, and my husband does not).  But, every time I picked up this one, and tried to begin reading it, it disappeared.  And, I would find it in my husband’s bag, or on his desk, or at his office.  He was reading it…again.  Anything that he found that compelling simply had to be added to my list.  But, in order to maintain peace, we opted for a second copy.


The Family Daughter: Becoming Pillars of Strength In Our Father’s House, by Sarah L. Bryant – This actually goes in the already completed column.  I won’t say much about it here…but be on the lookout for a more thorough review in the near future.


Joyfully at Home: A Book for Young Ladies on Vision and Hope, by Jasmine Baucham – I, obviously, am not longer in the “target audience” for this book.  I am married, and a homemaker (by both choice and conviction).  So, why in the world am I even interested in this book?  I discovered Jasmine’s blog (by the same title) a little over a year ago, after reading the book that led her to the decision to become a “stay-at-home daughter.”  While I appreciated her father’s preaching and writing ministry, I also appreciated that Jasmine seemed to have her own unique voice, opinions, and convictions on her blog, and was not simply parroting what she had been taught.  So, when I discovered that she was writing a book based on her blog, I was excited to hear what she had to say…because, while I may no longer be in her shoes, I have a daughter who will be, someday.


Texas Gardener’s Resource: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant, & Maintain a Texas Garden – We (well, I) am new to Texas.  And, I don’t know the first thing about keeping a plant alive.  However, it seems mandatory that, if you live in Texas, you plant a garden.  And, at the very least, it must include tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and cucumbers.  None of which I have ever grown before.  I tried to plant a bean sprout once…my cat ate it.  (Yes, I was 4. And yes, it scarred me for life!)  All that to say, if our fledgling garden has any hope of survival, I am going to need all the help I can get!  And, this book seems to have it all!!




What is on your nightstand (or, your reading list) for this month? I’d love to know!!



Filed under Currently Reading, What's On Your Nightstand?


“…our slavery to Christ has radical implications for how we think and live.  We have been bought with a price. We belong to Christ.  We are part of a people for His own possession.  And understanding all of that changes everything about us, starting with our perspective and our priorities.


“True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life.  Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him – submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else.  It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost.  In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ’s slave.”


~John MacArthur, Slave, pgs. 21-22


Filed under Currently Reading, Quotes, The Lord's Day