Books in 2015

Last year I hit an all time record high of 41 books in 2014.  2015 I only read 24.  I think I started more books and quit than ever before.  About half the books on this list I did not get into at all.  It was not a great year for reading…that is for sure.

I did complete the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games series–both which I have enjoyed.  I am not nor will I ever be a die hard fan who reads them over and over.  But I do appreciate them.

But 2016 looks better.  For starters, I am overseeing an on line book club which will force me to read a variety of books.  I am really excited about this.

My top 3 of 2015 would be:  Still Life by Christa Parrish, Crazy Busy by Kevin De Young, and the Almost True Story of Rob Stennett.




Books 2014

In 2009 I read 16 books, in 2010 I don’t think I kept track, in 2011 I read 22 books, in 2012 I read 27, and in 2013 I read 32.  In 2014…I read…drum roll please…41!  Here they are…


  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klinel
  2. Wonder by Al Palacio
  3. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
  4. The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
  5.  Moloka’I by Alan Brennert
  6. Barcelona Calling by Jane Kirkpatrick
  7. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
  9. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  10. Breaking Rules by Tracie Puckett
  11. PIE by Sarah Weeks 


  1. Shattered Dreams:  My Life As An Polygamist Wife by Irene Spencer
  2. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  3. I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks
  4. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller
  5. Wild:  From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  6. The Other Side of the River by Alex Kotlowitz
  7. Lost Boy by Brent W Jeffs
  8. Better Together:  Restoring the American Community by Robert D Putman
  9. Answering 911:  Life in the Hot Seat by Caroline Burau
  10. The End of the Suburbs:  Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher
  11.  Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt
  12. My Story by Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart
  13. Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time by Brigid Schulte
  14. My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
  15. Life Is A Wheel by Bruce Weber
  16. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
  17. Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp
  18. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
  19. The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality by Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche
  20. Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin
  21. Naked and Unashamed by Rob Toornstra
  22. Maxed Out by Katrina Alcorn
  23. Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar
  24. Hope Against Hope by Sarah Carr
  25. Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
  26. Stopping Stress Before It Stops You by Kevin Leman
  27. The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge
  28. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  29. It’s Complicated by Danah Boyd
  30. All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

First of all the best book I had the honor of reading this year was written by my husband.  He spent many evenings going across the street to the coffee shop after the kids went to bed to write. He solicited editing help from our friends and my brother.  He learned with writing that there are many “no’s” before a “yes.” His book “Naked and Ashamed” began long before we were married when he had to write about the Calvinist perspective on sexuality in our Calvinism class in college.  I encourage you to check his book out.  It’s available on Amazon and in the Kindle edition.

And once again I read way more non-fiction than fiction.  Some of this due to a writing project of my own I took on that may or may not amount to much more beyond this blog.

My second favorite book was Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time.  This book shook up my world for a couple weeks and caused me to take a good hard look at my schedule and life goals.  I daresay God used this book to help me this school year. I have been able to manage my time better and keep my commitments at a manageable level.

Some others I recommend:  Breaking Rules is a YA fiction, and I could not put it down.  The writing was good and the characters come to life.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I know some memoirs by people in the news or Hollywood stars are poorly written.  The whole time you read it you are thinking–“How did they get a book deal?”  My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart is very good–heartbreaking at times.  You get a picture of what actually happened to her and her strength to overcome the trauma she faced.

I also recommend A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres.  It is the untold stories of the Jonestown Massacre and people of “The People’s Temple” cult of the late 1970’s.  This all took place when I was an infant so I never followed it in the news.  I have always been fascinated by the control cults have over ordinary people.  The author is originally from the same hometown and church as me (Lafayette, Indiana).

If you want other recommendations, let me know.  I am always up for book suggestions too!

Blog Giveaway! My husband’s book!!

book cover

When most of us think of the “sex talk” from our youth, we think of purity rings, “don’t do that,” “stay away from that” etc.  But is the Bible’s view on sex so negative?  There is a positive and uplifting portrayal of sexual intimacy in the Scriptures and my husband shares this in his book Naked and Unashamed .

It is now available for pre-ordering and available late October.  However we want to do a giveaway and give one person their own free copy.  All you have to do is leave your name in the comments and (optional) how you found my blog.  For an extra entry, like my Facebook page and that will double your chances in wining.

One of my kids will draw a name out of a hat at 7:30 AM Pacific Time on Wednesday…a week from today.

Thanks for supporting my husband in this endeavor.  There is nothing quite like holding book you wrote in your hands as a published author.



Books I Read in 2013

Update:  I actually read 35 books.  Totally forgot about Turning Stones:  My Days And Nights With Children At Risk–A Caseworker’s Story by Marc Parent.  This is a must read for anyone thinking about foster parenting or understanding the difficulties (and burn out) of being a caseworker.  

I did not read more books than the husband this year.  If you count children’s books, I would have won by a landslide.  However, we don’t count kid books.  I did manage to hit 34 books this year which is an all time record.  This is my list:

Non Fiction:

1) Triumph by Carolyn Jessop

2) Little Girls in Pretty Boxes by Joan Ryan

3) Orphans of the Living by Jennifer Toth

4) Practical Tools for Foster Parents by Various Authors

5) Radical by David Platt

6) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

7) Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

8) The Foster Parent Toolbox edited by Kim Phagel-Hansel

9) Bringing Elizabeth Home by Ed Smart and Lois Smart

10) Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore

11) Pre:  The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend by Tom Jordan

12) Live Through This by Debra Gwartney

13) Seven: An Experimental Mutiny by Jen Hatmaker

14)  Lucky Girl by Mel- Ling Hopgood

15)  Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller

16) How We Got Here: The 70’s by David Frum

17) The Things They Carried by Tim O ‘Brien

18) Waiting For An Army To Die by Fred A Wilcox

19)  Quiet:  The Power of Introverts In  A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

20) An Innocent A Broad by Ann Leary

21) In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham

22) Roads by Larry McMurtray


1) For One More Day by Mitch Albom

2) Night Road by Kristin Hannah

3) Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

4) Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

5)  Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer

6)   Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt

7) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

8) Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

9) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran

10) And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

11) Finding Daddy by Louise Plummer

When you look at the books you have read over the year, it shows a little bit of a journey you have been on.  Here are some things I discovered…

  • I still read way more non-fiction than fiction.
  • Most of the fiction books I read are the selected books from the Book Club I joined two years ago.  This is one of the reasons why I joined a Book Club–to hold me accountable to actually read some fiction.
  • The areas of interest in which I enjoy learning about are foster care, adoption, social justice, the 1970’s, the Vietnam War, psychology, cults, and travel.  I don’t know if any of these topics are related.
  • Through Painted Deserts is about a road trip to Central Oregon.  I read most it while camping in Central Oregon miles from where the stories took place.  I love it when you read books with a good setting while you are actually IN the setting.
  • I read quite a few books about foster care in early 2013.  At the time we had hoped to become foster parents in later 2013, but that has been put on hold.  I am grateful for all that I learned about foster care even if I can’t be a foster mom at this point in time.
  • My favorite time to study in history is the 1950’s – 1980’s.   I am fascinated by the cultural change between the 50’s and 60’s and how it shaped the 1970’s.
  • My favorite books read in 2013 were fiction!  I loved Night Road and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
  • It is going to take me years and years to get through the Harry Potter series.  I am not a true Harry Potter fan.  My friend (who is a big Harry Potter fan)  told me Book #4 was his least favorite but so far it’s my most favorite.  Again I’m probably not a true fan.
  • I watched the movie Without Limits which is about the legendary runner from the early 1970’s Steve Prefontaine.  He is from Coos Bay, Oregon and was a track runner for the U of O.  I had no idea who Prefontaine was or the history of Nike or that it all started less than an hour from where I live.  I watch “running” movies and documentaries the nights Rob is gone.  As he will often watch airplane movies when I am away.   So after watching the movie and saying over and over the next three days–“Wow that movie was so good and yet so sad,” I started reading more about Pre.  For my birthday I told Rob I want to go for a run on the Prefontaine Trail, see Pre’s rock at the site where he died, and see Hayward Field.  I’m a running geek and proud of it.

I am looking forward to more reading in 2014!

Where I am…where this is going

It has been almost two years since I started Everyday Mom.  At the time I was bursting with “mom ideas” and had post after post written long before I launched the blog.  Now the time I spend blogging and reading blogs is significantly less.  

I can’t even come up with a good picture for this post.

Why is that?  I have seen the trend in other moms too.  The kids grow older and go off to school.  Our “me time” should increase, right?  It does not seem to work that way.  Here’s a few theories…

My younger kids do not always nap.  I take advantage of that and do afternoon outings to the park, running errands, the indoor playground etc. so I can spend the morning cleaning, answering e-mails, working on church related things.  I like the freedom of not having to rush home for naps.  I am more relaxed.  

Even if they have “quiet time” in their rooms, it is an hour at the most.  Even though I can get work done while they play, ride bikes outside, or watch TV–they are kids.  They need me to switch the channel on the TV, fasten a bike helmet, and sometimes break up a conflict.  It is very difficult to focus on a task like writing with multiple interruptions.  As I am blogging this right now, my kids are all out with my husband and the house is totally quiet.  This is a rare occurrence.  I probably would not be writing this blog post if they were home.

My other theory is I wake up insane hours in the morning so I can get my exercise in.  I love the morning workouts.  I am not a natural morning person and more of a night owl.  I truly believe you can train yourself to be one or the other with time and patience.  So when 10 PM rolls around (and sometimes even earlier!) I am done.  Anything I write is not going to make any sense.

My last theory is I read more.  I have read almost as many books this year as my husband so far in 2013.  I also try to read at least half of the newspaper each day.  I also read Runners World cover to cover.

I see frantic parents running around, checking their cell phones in a frenzy and over planning and over committing.  I have been in that trap before. I think I have done a pretty good job in the last year of staying out of it.

So while I was considering the future of Everyday Mom, I was questioning where I want this blog to go.  My zeal for constantly sharing “mom ideas” and reading 10-15 blog posts a day is not what it was.  I still need an outlet to share, to post some “mom ideas,” and connect with some of you.  So you will still see me here.  My time blogging and even being sucked into the Internet is significantly less…and that’s a good thing..




Books I Read & Movies I Watched in 2012



Every year my husband challenges me to read more books than him.  And every single year he reads way more.  However, the amount of books I read each year increases.  Typically I gravitate to non-fiction and memoirs. I tried to read some fiction.  It helped tremendously being in a Book Club.  So here’s what I read this year…and I separated the fiction and non-fiction.


1) Black Beauty by Ann Sewell

2) Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

3) The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

4)  The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

5)  Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

6) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

7)  Gideon’s War by Howard Gordon

8)  New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

9)  In Leah’s Wake by Terri Guiliano Long

10) The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

11)  The Firm by John Grisham

Non-Fiction & Memoirs

1)  Toxic Charity by Robert D Lupton

2)  Whatever It Takes:  Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America by Paul Tough

3)  Foster Parenting:  A Simple Guide to Understanding What It’s All About by Stacie Craig

4)  She’s Gonna Blow!  Real Help for Moms Dealing With Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill

5)  Silence Shattered: An Eyewitness Account of the Columbine Tragedy by Heidi Johnson

6)  When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

7)  Off Balance by Dominque Moceanu

8)  Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey

9)  Bloom by Kelle Hampton

10)  Becoming Sister Wives by the Browns

11)  More than Just Race by William Julius Wilson

12)  The Savage My Kinsman by Elisabeth Elliot

13)  In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard

14)  Escape by Carolyn Jessop

15)  Having  a Mary Heart In a Marth World by Joanna Weaver

16)  The Fruitful Wife:  Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley Di Marco

And these are the movies I watched.  I realize I do not watch very many flicks.  Honestly an evening when I can devote 2-3 hours to watching a movie uninterrupted, I would prefer to curl up and watch a documentary. Before you call me a geek, my husband and I did work our way through all eight seasons of 24  over a six month period as well as all eight seasons of The Office.  Currently we are watching Glee  wrapping up Season 1.


1)  The Lottery (2010)

2)  The Bad News Bears (1976)

3)  Charlotte’s Web (2006)

4) One Day (2011)

5) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

6) Shag (1989)

7) Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

8) Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

9) Run For Your Life (2008)

10) Life of David Gale  (2003)

I love summer reading!

As moms, we all have natural skill areas we are passionate about such as doing crafts with our kids, baking together, or teaching.  Mine is reading.  I love to read to all three of my kids.  And I love summer reading!

I never instill a limit on how many books we check out at the library.  Today we went a little crazy and checked out twenty-four.  In the summer months we are often at the library once a week so they get returned long before their due date.Our library has an awesome summer reading program!  We started it when my oldest was twenty-one months old.  This is her seventh year.  The library plans all kinds of activities, craft events, a kid’s art show, movie afternoons, and raffle prizes. Plus a Summer Reading Store in early September where the kids can redeem their “hours” for prizes.Even my youngest is excited to participate and color in her hours.We made these clipboards to hang in our laundry room aka mud room.

I had Summer Reading guides in mind when we made them.  I am also using them for homework and “reminder” papers. I was finding the bulletin board was getting too cluttered and the younger two like to pull papers off the fridge…and then they get lost forever. Only my oldest in school so hers gets the most use.I stole the idea from my sister.  She has two children in school and each of her children use their clipboards for homework and school papers.

I also increase my own personal reading for the summer.  My goal is to read at least ten books before school starts again.