With the blink of an eye, the holidays are over and so is one of the craziest months of my program year! Here's what we've been up to.
What I'm Reading:
I read 8 fiction books during the last two months. My favorites included:
The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel. I've become such a huge fan of Kristin Harmel. I've enjoyed every one of the books I've read by her. This one, a novel about WWII, just might be my favorite book of hers so far.
Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade. Perhaps more than any other book I've read over the last two months, this is the one that haunts me, the one that I can't stop thinking about. It's disturbing but well worth the read.
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. Had I read this book a year ago, I'm not sure I would have loved it as much as I did. But as a working mom, I found myself relating to so much of the main character's story. I loved all of it... Except the last 10 pages, which I HATED.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. This quirky story of interwoven characters captured my heart in a really big way.
I read 6 non-fiction books over the last two months. My favorites included Roadmap to Reconciliation (see my full review here), Our of Sorts (see my full review here), Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity (see my review here), and Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity (see my review here).
We've read a lot with Hope over the last two months, especially since our advent ritual was reading a Christmas book each night. My favorites included:
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson. This series by Karma Wilson is great. It's filled with cute critters and it's story-driven.
Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin. My sister-in-law introduced me to Doreen Cronin and I was thrilled to find more stories about duck and Farmer Brown at our local library. These stories are ones that will amuse parents & kids alike.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. My husband was familiar with this story, but I certainly wasn't. It didn't stop me from appreciating it! It's charming and as a youth pastor, I actually really appreciated it's theology.
Things I Love:
Winter walks at the Arboretum. Such a great way to get outside.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. We love the zoo anyway but it was especially fun to see it decorated for Christmas.
Introducing a whole new group of teenagers to refugee ministry through a welcome pack delivery, which I might add, we delivered in the dark using headlamps and flashlights.
The Shedd Aquarium. We had such a fun day taking baby girl to explore the Shedd!
Christmas shopping with Dad.
Visiting Jacksonville before Christmas. In addition to seeing everyone, highlights included enjoying Grandma's fried chicken.
Seeing Grandpa's joy at giving Hope her first John Deere Tractor.
Visiting Grandpa at the bank.
Spying on Samson.
The Christmas tree.
Making our 1st gingerbread house with baby girl.
Celebrating Hope's 1st Christmas. What a gift she's been to our family!
Vacationing in San Diego. We had such a great time in San Diego. Highlights included whale watching, visiting the San Diego Zoo, and a delicious brunch on Coronado Island.
Playing with Christmas gifts.
Skiing! It was only Devil's Head but for this year, it was enough!
Attending birthday parties, like this one for Hope's friend Owen, who turned one.
Today I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I'm into. You can join the conversation here.