Our family traveled a bunch last month, so I got in a lot of extra reading. Below is a roundup of all the most recommendation-worthy books I finished in April.
Intentional Love: 31 Ways to Love Your Husband with Purpose by Leah Heffner
Having been happily married for over three decades myself, I know that strong, healthy marriages don’t happen by accident. Couples must be intentional about nurturing their relationship if they want it to thrive.
That’s the premise of Leah Heffner’s book, Intentional Love, and is probably why it’s message so resonated with me. I loved all her suggestions and the easy to read format, complete with discussion points and action steps after every short chapter. This book is included in this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle (as is her husband’s companion volume 31 Ways to Love Your Wife).
Just Sayin’ by Dandi Daley Mackall
Although I don’t read much fiction (aside from stories read aloud to my kids), Just Sayin’ appealed to me because of the format. The story is told completely through letters, texts, and messages sent between the characters. As a huge letter writer myself, I love that!
I was also utterly charmed by this book. It was fun to peek inside the personal correspondence of such unlikely friends as a couple of adolescents, their parents, a grandmother, a gameshow host, a paster, and a cruise director.
It was also surprising how intimately acquainted I felt with the characters after reading the hopes and dreams, joys, regrets, and deep pondering questions they shared back and forth.
Although this is marketed as a children’s book, my 81-year-old mother borrowed it from me to read in the car when we were traveling together last week. She laughed so hard through parts of the book that I had to read it myself before passing it along to my 11-year-old. He started it today, and I suspect he’ll enjoy it every bit as much as we did. It’s a fun read!
Jonathan Edwards: America’s Genius by Christian Timothy George
I listened to the audio version of this book. It was one of the free titles Christian Audio gave away a few months back. (And again, if you love to read, you should sign up for their newsletter to get a FREE, no-strings-attached audiobook each and every month.)
The story of Jonathan Edwards’ life is truly inspiring. He had such a brilliant mind and devout love for the Lord and for all of His creation. I was already family with this influential philosopher/preacher from his involvement in The Great Awakening.
He is often touted as a homeschooling success story, as well, since he was educated at home by his mother. (She ran a school for neighborhood children out of the family livingroom.) I read a biography of Edwards several years back that was geared more toward adults than children. But this Trail Blazers edition contains a lot of anecdotes that were completely new to me. I quite enjoyed listening to it while folding the family laundry (one of my favorite ways to multi-task).
Poached by Stuart Gibbs
Poached is the second book in the Teddy Fitzroy series and is just as riveting. In this tale, a koala goes missing, and Teddy gets blamed. Can he avoid arrest long enough to find the real animal-knapper? As before, our kids begged for “just one more chapter, please” every time Doug reached a good stopping place for our nightly story time. We took a short break after this book — long enough to cruise to Jamaica — but are back at it now, thoroughly enjoying the third book in the series.
The Disciple Making Parent by Chap Bettis
I received a review copy of The Disciple Making Parent from Timberdoodle. I plan to publish a more in-depth review of the book soon on my other blog, Loving Life at Home, but am including in my April listing, since I finished it this month. It is a very meaty, sobering book!
Sometimes the hustle-bustle of daily living causes us to lose sight of what an enormous responsibility and privilege parenting is. Chap Bettis shifts our focus back to the long game, where it belongs.
While he makes it clear that there is no guaranteed formula for raising godly, successful children — that is accomplished only by the grace of God — he reminds us that God still calls parents to walk in obedience to His Word. We are to train our children continually, teaching them Spiritual truth as we lie down, as we rise up, as we sit in our house, and as we walk along the way. And God often uses our faithfulness to His calling to accomplish His purposes in the lives of our children.
This book is an invaluable resource to any parent who wonders what discipling children might look like in day-to-day living.
ETSY Quickstart Guide by Abby Banks
I’ve been considering opening an Etsy shop as another way to market my devotional journals for several years now. So I was thrilled to see Abby Banks’ step-by-step Etsy Quickstart Guide is included in the 2019 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
She makes the process of setting up your own Etsy shop simple, walking you through every step of the process. While reading, I kept the book open in one tab and the Etsy shop open in the other. That way, I could toggle back and forth and get it done. Abby even includes a link that will get you your first 40 listings for FREE.
I’ll be putting the final touches on my storefront in the next few weeks, so keep your eye out for a grand unveiling soon. 🙂 In the meantime, you can learn more about Abby’s guide here by scrolling down to the “Work at Home” section.
Clutter Free(dom) by Christine White
Here’s yet another helpful resource from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. Christine White is a straight-shooter who is willing to ask hard questions. Her no-nonsense tips will help you deal with your clutter once and for all.
I’ve been using her method to clear out some of the problem areas in my house. (I’ll be posting a few before/after pictures on Instagram this week if you want to follow me there.) Since I’m a “keeper” by nature, convincing me to part with my stuff is no easy task. I might need it someday! But I’ve already filled a couple of big bags to donate, with (my husband hopes) many more to come!
A Barrel of Laughs , A Vale of Tears by Jules Feiffer
This is one of the quirkiest books I’ve ever read. The kids and I weren’t sure we liked it after one of the characters stormed out of the book in the first chapter. (Not to worry. He eventually came back — and wreaked quite a bit of havoc when he did.) Still, we’ve never yet been disappointed with a Sonlight recommendation, which is how we found out about this one. So we kept reading.
For such a silly tale, it packed some powerful lessons — and managed to communicate them without sounding preachy or moralizing. By the end, we were all glad we stuck with it. The line-drawn illustrations on every other page made it a pretty quick read.
I’m not sure that any of us will read it again soon, but I’m keeping it on our shelf, just in case. Besides, doing so should allow the character who likes to wander in and out of the book to find his way back… once he’s good and ready.
Lightbearers: A Biblical Worldview Curriculum by Summit Ministries
The course material came with related video lectures, also published by Summit Ministries. It made a great introductory apologetics course, done with the excellence and attention to detail I’ve come to expect from Summit. It exposes students to common objections to Christianity and to opposing Worldviews. But it simultaneously equips them to answer those questions and engage people with opposing viewpoints in thoughtful conversation.
Several of our kids have taken courses over the years that are either offered by Summit Ministries directly or that rely heavily on their multi-media curriculum. We’ve always been thrilled with the results, not the least of which is a new boldness in discussing matters of faith and effectively pointing others to Jesus.
Math-U-See Algebra 2 by Steve Demme
Although I teach my kids math at home using Saxon (which I LOVE), the Algebra 2 class I teach at co-op uses Math-U-See. And I have to admit, for a meet-once-a-week format, Math-U-See is a great choice.
New concepts are introduced at a rate of one per week. So I cover the material in class, then my students have five days worth of homework to cement the concept into their brains and master applying it on paper. For moms who want to teach Math-U-See at home, videos are also available with author Steve Demme going through every chapter with tons of practice problems.
So even though I don’t use Math-U-See with my own kids, I did read through this book cover-to-cover with my co-op students. And they all did really well in the course.
Curious about the other books I use as curriculum for lessons at home? You can find a complete listing here.
And that wraps it up for April. Can you believe it’s May already?!
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