Gems from “Spurgeon’s Sorrows”

Digging through all my “PPD processing” documents (I realized a few months ago that I process by writing, so that means I have a number of Word documents that are compilations of quotes, scripture, journal entries, steps to take for healing, and other notes) I found a lot of quotes from the book, “Spurgeon’s Sorrows,” by Zack Eswine.
I read this book back in April, alongside Michael Card’s “A Sacred Sorrow,” and together they marked a turning point for me, the place where I finally realized I hadn’t been being completely honest with God about how I felt about Him, and that that was likely continuing the cycle of depression. A lot of this was due to the promises of God bringing no comfort, something that felt almost blasphemous to think, and I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone that because His promises were what were being offered to me as hope. But Eswine deals with that feeling in “Spurgeon’s Sorrows,” and that along with these other gems opened up the conversation with God again, allowing me to fully lament the way I was reading about it in Card’s book.
May these quotes encourage you and lead you towards reading the whole (little!) book.

“Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.”

“Depression can so vandalize our joy and sense of God that no promise of His can comfort us in the moment, no matter how true or kindly spoken.”

“The sun may not rise for a few hours yet. But here amid the waiting hours, the sorrowing have a savior.”

“No matter how far you fall in your depression, the everlasting arms shall be lower than you are.”

“Hope demolished can become hope rebuilt, if it is realistic and rooted, not just in the cross and empty tomb but also in the garden and the sweat-like blood.”

“I am certain that I have seen more in the dark than ever I saw in the light, – more stars, most certainly, – more things in heaven if fewer things on earth.”

“The valley of the shadow of death is not our final destination” – Michael Jinkins

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What We Read: 3rd Quarter 2017

Third quarter! That means only one quarter left to finish my book list for the year – although I’m happy and surprised by how much I have read already this year. It’s amazing how much you can read in only a few minutes a day if you really stick to it.

July
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full (Furman)
My favorite of Gloria Furman’s books that I’ve read. Full of good reminders and encouragement for mothering. A lot of it was in Missional Motherhood, but in a format that was more devotional/encouragement than theology.

Son of Hamas
Picked from WORLD Mag’s “beach reads” recommendations, but read at the cabin. 😉 It was gripping, but I often felt with the way it was written that the goal was thrill more than really educating on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Unhurried Homeschooler
A quick read, good overview of a lot of Charlotte Mason ideas… all very familiar though as it’s become a bit of the “thing” now to have the unhurried style. But lots of good reminders on the heart being the most important thing, not the textbook, on implementing character – especially at S’s age! I did not really like her section on why to homeschool; it felt like the main goal was sheltering and discipleship was secondary.
I am interested in comparing it to Teaching From Rest, hopefully in the next quarter.

Why the Universe is the Way it is (Ross)
WORLD had recommended this so I was surprised to find that Ross is old-earth, though WORLD doesn’t take a clear stance on that anyway. But it was the first time I had read anything from an old earth perspective, and that helped me engage with it more and solidify my young-earth perspective.
My main critique is that I was expecting it to bring me to worship in awe of God’s power and design, and for hte most part that was dampened by his old earth perspective, as well as the way he assumed arguments and assumed the reader was familiar with common old earth arguments, and did not cite or explain very much.
That said, there were some very good parts, like the discussion of how an imperfect world can be “good,” and the ways that natural disasters can actually help keep the earth in balance, and how time and space restrain evil. My favorite thought: the way the moon’s darkness allows us greater view into space! All that was to show how God isn’t weak and uncaring for world/design/plan to be how it is – but maybe not convincing for a skeptic.

August
skimmed Home Education (Charlotte Mason)
Most of this content I had read in other places, understandably so, but some of it was more fleshed out. Still, I would recommend For the Children’s Sake and A Charlotte Mason Companion more.

Roaring Lambs (Briner)
A book calling for excellence in Christian art. Some good thoughts, but overall a little confusing as he seems to imply the need for just excellence without speaking but then also says to milk your platform. It was also very rant-y and his opinion and experience.I was expecting the whole book to be more of the last chapter, not just telling us what’s wrong but what to do about it.
However, the study questions at the back were good, and it was written a number of years ago – so it seems a little unnecessary in the Csehy circles, which means the book may have had some impact!

Pride & Prejudice (Austen)
One of two books I chose to read after reading How to Read Literature Like a Professor. I enjoyed it more than I expected I would!

September
The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare)
The other book I chose to read, guided also by A Time of Gifts, since Fermor frequently referenced it. My appreciation for Shakespeare has grown since highschool, and it was helpful to read alongside notes to apply more of How to Read Literature Like a Professor… but I could have done without the soap opera. So I think my next Shakespeare will be Henry V!

Surprised by Joy (Lewis)
I had read a quote from this and then had this book recommended to me, so decided I should finally read it. It solidified Lewis as my favorite author, and made me think a lot about how the things I do and the environment in which they are raised will impact my children. My biggest takeaway was related to the quote I read,
“You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope’s object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning around to look at the hope itself. . . . Introspection is in one respect misleading. In introspection we try to look inside ourselves and see what is going on. But nearly everything that was going on a moment before is stopped by the very act of our turning to look at it. Unfortunately this does not mean that introspection finds nothing. On the contrary, it finds precisely what is left behind by the suspension of all our normal activities; and what is left behind is mainly mental images and physical sensations. The great error is to mistake this mere sediment or track or byproduct for the activities themselves. (Lewis, Surprised by Joy, pp. 218–219.)”
It has been timely as I have been looking back on PPD, trying to understand it to some degree, as well as in daily life when I start analyzing why I was impatient (which generally just leads to stewing about something or someone rather than removing a stressor), instead of repenting and setting my gaze on Christ.
Some really good thoughts on Lewis from John Piper here.

Lit! (Tony Reinke)
Subtitle: A Christian guide to reading books – and it meets that subtitle very well! If you love reading or hate reading, he has some really good tips for deciding what to read, how to read what you read, and a few comments on digesting what you read – all from a perspective of reading with a Christian worldview and with purpose (even fiction for fun!).

in the middle of: Parenting (Tripp) // The Hidden Smile of God (Piper) // 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Reinke) // Because He Loves Me (Fitzpatrick)

Movies We Enjoyed
A United Kingdom (there was one scene I skipped)
Luther (documentary)
Mr. Bernstein
The Pianist

Kids’ Books:
Creature Numbers (Zuckerman)
Up! (Hughes)
Adele & Simon (McClintock)
Frog & Toad
Dodsworth (Eagan)
Rookie Toddler board books
Katie Meets the Impressionists
Green Eggs & Ham
Perro Grande, Perro Pequeno
Are You My Mother
Mama Panya’s Pancakes
My Big Girl Potty (Cole)
The Journey (Sanna) – we’ve read a number about refugees and this one is our favorite.
Charlie Needs a Cloak (DePaola)
A New Coat for Anna
Chicken Sunday
George & Martha
The Quiltmaker’s Gift
Bible Basics by Catechis Books
Biggest Story ABC

Also, I now have a sub-page under “good reads” to have a running list of our favorite children’s books.

2017 Second Quarter: What We Read

April

Skimmed
Give them Grace Elyse Fitzpatrick
I just skimmed this one because there are SO many parenting books and I had heard so much about this one from people that both like and don’t like it so I wanted to get a feel for it myself before deciding if I wanted to read it more or not. There were some very helpful parts, but there is a fair amount of ambiguity where you can read in certain things depending on where you are coming from that could lead to permissiveness. Overall, though, I would say that their main message isn’t giving them grace as in letting off the hook or not giving law, but grace as in offering them gospel when they fail to obey.
We haven’t finished it yet, but I would recommend Paul Tripp’s “Parenting” book over Give them Grace since I feel like it says a lot of the same things but more succinctly and without the ambiguity.

Give Your Child the World
This isn’t really one to sit down and read fully, but I did get some good ideas. I wrote down a fair number of books from the book lists to check out of the library, but I was expecting less book list and more practical on ideas for helping your kids have a global perspective. That may just be because most of the practical things she mentioned are common sense to me from the way we were raised. Not one I think I would own, but I would get it from the library in the future to get more ideas.

Hints on Child Training Turnbull
This is an often recommended book in Charlotte Mason books. There was a lot of helpful stuff in it, but I think you’d be better off reading “For the Children’s Sake” by Susan Schaeffer McCaulay since it has similar philosophy but doesn’t feel as Victorian/focused on outward behavior and politeness. I feel like that’s a weakness in the Charlotte Mason stuff in general – it talks so much about character but often feels moralistic.
Most helpful to me were reminders on whole person, individuality, not repressing polite questioning, and directing, not breaking, the will of the child, as well as teaching them self-denial and self control.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (and a few others, Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Hungry Planet

Always Ready (Bahnsen)
Not what I was expecting… I walked away being convinced that presuppositional apologetics is the way to go but not really knowing how to do it.

The Singer, The Song, and The Finale (Calvin Miller)
These are favorites of mine and I read them aloud to Ezra in the car.

Missional Motherhood (Furman)
I picked up some helpful tidbits from this book, but overall ended up skimming a fair bit. It would probably be more helpful to someone who hasn’t read and studied a lot about biblical womanhood.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine)
Mentioned this book before, but I can’t recommend it enough to anyone in the midst of depression, counseling depression, supporting someone with depression, or just curious about it and wanting to know more.

The Land I Lost
Ezra remembered reading this as a kid and it was a nice break from heavier reading.

May

The Genius of Ancient Man
Fascinating!

Messy Grace (Kaltenbach)
Another one that I highly recommend. Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents and has solid insights in how to show grace and love to the LGBT community without compromising conviction.

Better Late than Early
I ended up skimming most of this one. The first half is explaining why it’s better to start education later than earlier, including some facts like kids being far sighted until 7 or 8 and that making learning to read more difficult and even detrimental to eye health. The second half is some ideas of what to be doing until formal schooling. A lot of it was common sense and long winded.

Holy Labor (Aubri Smith)
A review of this is coming in a separate post!

None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)
SO convicting, one I will read again in the future! It made me realize how often I try to be God in how I act and live, how much I fail at trying to be God, and how great He is.

June
How to Read Literature Like a Professor
I was really disappointed by this book. The writing style was too casual (almost blog-style), a lot of the examples were PG-13+ and from literature I had never heard of, and it was SO repetitive.

Music Through the Eyes of Faith Harold Best
Really really good. Probably the first thing I’ve read that discusses truth and beauty and worship and what kinds of music are acceptable for the Christian in a way that goes beyond “we shouldn’t listen to rock because it has bad associations,” etc. Some of his comments were a little Spurgeon-esque in the sense of “I see how you got there, but I don’t really know if that’s what the text means, but I guess it could.” But it was never to a degree that I felt extrapolated too much from the text. Highly recommended!

A Time of Gifts
If a highschool dropout traveled the world today and wrote about it… it would be a far cry from this book, about Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travels (mostly on foot) from Holland to Constantinople. It made me feel SO uneducated – his writing is so rich with description (it had to be; he didn’t have a camera to remember things by!), full of phrases in many languages, literary references, historical knowledge and references… not as light of a read as I had been looking for, but I really enjoyed it and do plan on reading the second part sometime.

in the middle of Parenting (Tripp), The Hidden Smile of God (Piper), 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Reinke)

Children’s Books we enjoyed
Balloons Over Broadway about Tony Sarg and the story behind the Macy’s Day Parade!
One Day, One World
The Ology Machowski
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping S loved this more than us. 😉
Swan a beautiful, poetic book about Anna Pavlova
Where Did My Clothes Come From? a bit above S’s level right now but she would look at it and on the page about rubber say “That’s my rain boots!”
How to make an Apple Pie and See the World
anything by Ezra Jack Keats (especially the Snowy Day and Clementina’s Cactus)
Compost Stew
Pinkerton
My First Day
St Patrick (Tomie De Paola) – the best one we’ve found on St. Patrick’s day that our library has
In the Sea
(David Eliott, Holly Meade)
Curious George & the Alphabet
Children Just Like Me

National Geographic Children’s Atlas
Abuela (I am trying to learn some Spanish with the girls – this one had some Spanish phrases thrown in with mostly English)
The Night Gardener (Fan)
What Can You Do with a Paleta? (another bilingual one! Also “What Can you do with a Rebozo?”)
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (Messner)

Hungry Planet: Washington, USA

We really enjoyed the books “Hungry Planet” and “Material World,” by Peter Menzel, and decided that while doing our own version of Material World – putting all our stuff out in our yard – was too much, we could do our own Hungry Planet! So for kicks, here’s what we ate in a week and some stats. We hope to do this every few years to see how our food habits and family change.
As a side note, we highly recommend both books as a great way to learn about the world and other cultures, and it really makes you realize how much we have as Americans and how little we have to complain about – I felt really guilty complaining about our 950 square feet in Japan feeling small when you read of families of 10 living in 200!


April 2017, Washington State.
2 adults, 1 2.5-year old, 6 month old baby (eats only a bite or two of food a day, but ups my appetite!)

Eggs & Dairy: $14.49
2 dozen eggs 8, purchased from local farm
1.5 gallons milk, 1 quart+ used for yogurt
1 lb monterey jack cheese 5.49

Meat: $22.09 (est. yearly consumption per adult: 130)
1 lb grassfed beef 7.50
15 oz can wild caught salmon 4.59
4 lb organic chicken $10

Produce: $43.51
4 lbs oranges 2.36
2 eggplant 3.36
daikon radish 1.5 lbs, 1.76
8 cucumbers 3
2 lbs frozen green beans $2
1 lb frozen corn 1
.5 lb bok choy .74
spinach bunch 1.48
green onions .38
serrano chili .04
2 lb mexican squash 2.50
10 lbs squash 7.80
2 lbs carrots $1
4.5 lb roma tomato 3.57
cantaloupe 2.48
3.5 lb yellow onion 1.51
2 heads garlic .80
2 lemons 1.32
1.2 lb satsuma 1.83
4.2 lb bananas 2.38
2 lb green cabbage 1.10
3 limes .39
2 avocados 1.36
plantain .71
*5 lbs potatoes
usually – less side veggies (ie, mexican squash, squash – and instead 3 heads of lettuce)

Condiments, Snacks, Drinks: $23.11

applesauce 3.58
ketchup 3.29
worchestershire sauce 3
seaweed 2.39
.6 lb walnuts 3.86
1 lb tahini 6.99
*tea
*homemade kombucha
*natural peanut butter
(Won’t use all the tahini, applesauce, ketchup, worchestershire sauce in a week, but there are always weekly purchases to restock pantry items so I included it anyway!)

Grains & Legumes: $5.88
1 lb dry chickpeas 1.49
15 oz can refried beans 1.39
2.5 lbs organic oats $3
*5 lbs organic whole wheat bread flour, for making bread & pizza dough
*.5 lb quinoa
*2 c cornmeal
*1 c green lentils

*not included in price/bought previously or in bulk
Not pictured: olive oil, coconut oil, honey, also all purchased in bulk.

Rough total: $113.08
(I was actually really surprised by this as normally it’s more and I didn’t feel like I skimped on anything that week)

We generally make one grocery trip every week, and every four weeks pick up our co-op delivery. Every few weeks I make a second grocery store run to stock up on meat at a store that is more expensive but has better options for meat.

What we ate
This is something I wish they’d had in the book so am including it for us.
Breakfasts:
Ezra: overnight oats x2, banana x2
S & I: yogurt and granola x1, oats x1, overnight oats x1, eggs x2
All: veggie frittata, breakfast star/bread

lunches
leftovers most of the time, on days we didn’t have enough leftovers, we supplemented with sandwiches with homemade bread, veggies and hummus, and -almost-7-layer dip.

Dinner
Salmon chowder with green beans
Okonomiyaki, miso soup, daikon and bok choy
Tamale pie, squash
Lentil chickpea salad with tomato and cucumber side salad
Curry and yogurt chicken, quinoa, green beans
stuffed squash and cantaloupe
Pizza, roast potatoes, any leftover fruit and veggies
Saturday night church potluck – brought roasted zucchini and eggplant

Snacks
Hummus & veggies
breakfast cookies
Kombucha jello
smoothies
frozen peas

Children’s Bible Comparisons

As a teenager I remember hearing parents at church complain about the lack of good children’s Bibles… and then by the time I was pregnant with S it seemed there were suddenly many to choose from and more coming out! I have been checking recommended ones out of the library to read to S to compare them. I still have a few on my list but our library doesn’t have them, so someday I may update this post, but for now, these are the four we have read the most:
Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
Biggest Story Bible by Kevin DeYoung
For Such a Time as This by Angie Smith

Some thoughts on each of them:
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Age range: (older) toddler
Artwork:intricate photos, sometimes odd, but mostly beautiful, not very realistic
Big picture:love story about our rescue, pointing out Jesus in Bible stories
Strengths:references included with each chapter, chapters a good length for reading aloud, making neat connections to Jesus, includes most “famous” Bible stories.
Weaknesses: poor understanding of God’s justice and wrath (it’s all about love, which isn’t a problem if the reader is saved, but I agree with others whose comment is that it can give kids a wrong idea of their relationship to God), twaddly/long-winded and poor sentence structure at times, sometimes outright changes it (for example, after the flood, God promises to never destroy the earth again, VS never destroying it by flood again).

The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
age range: (younger) toddler
artwork: Bright, bold drawings, sometimes a little odd. There is often symbolism in the pictures, though, which is really nice for the parent and to explain things more for older children.
big picture: Jesus as King and God’s Promise, mostly overarching theme but also in some smaller stories
strengths: easy to understand, language toddlers are used to (obedience, etc), no twaddle, coherent big picture story, more simple concepts to grasp, theologically sound. Repetitions in phrasing also make it easier for younger kids to understand.
weaknesses:only comes in a big big book, leaves some stories out, no references.

The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung
age range: older toddler/early elementary, though S sits through half of it in one sitting sometimes.
artwork: probably our favorite artwork, though it still gets a little odd (green faces sometimes, etc.). Doesn’t show Jesus clearly, which I like. Secret of Kells-style art that is visualy stunning but not realistic, but often has lots of imagery
big picture: a fast-paced, highlights look at the journey from Eden to Heaven (the gardens)
strengths: Engaging language, theologically sound, mentions a lot of smaller stories despite not having the whole one.
weaknesses:So fast! Skips Jesus’ ministry

For Such a Time as This by Angie Smith
age range: older toddler/early elementary (doesn’t usually hold S’s attention very long)
artwork: Warm, simple, realistic. Jesus is never shown head on. I love the intricacy and symbolism of The Biggest Story, but this is a close second.
big picture: the faith of women in the Bible
strengths: includes references, inspiring girls to be like (or not like!) women
weaknesses: creative license needed at times to fill in gaps, little dialogue/much telling, includes debated Mark 8, portrays the women as almost-perfect/no struggles, just faith. A few minor theological points I disagree with, but not as big of disagreements as with Jesus Storybook Bible.

How do all the stories compare/line up?
I made an excel spreadsheet for this since I wanted to fit it all together so we could use them all chronologically if we wanted to.
Bibles a
BIbles B
Bibles C
Bibles D

What do we use after all that?
I read to S from the Big Picture story Bible daily. It’s the best fit for her attention span and understanding right now with word choice and repetitions. I also read to her from “women Bible” as she calls it, “For Such a Time as This,” and will continue to do so especially as her attention span lengthens. But I wouldn’t use it alone since it’s not meant to be comprehensive. We want The Biggest Story but I don’t know if I would use it every day right now.

Comments on the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook:
I paged through this at my in-law’s. It’s very different from most children’s Bibles. Each story is a page of text and one picture, and then there is a section with a Christ connection and a question. It’s nice because it includes more stories and reads more like a regular Bible, but the straightforwardness of it makes it a little harder for younger kids to connect with, and I like it better when the Christ connection is worked into the story more like with JSB and BPSB. The artwork was pretty standard for a children’s Bible (though everyone was very buff!). The big upside I see to it is that it could be more easily used if they just weren’t quite ready for a regular Bible, and they make a version that is a regular Bible that includes the questions and Christ connection, which would be a good Bible for kids who are reading the Bible on their own but could use some extra explanation or guidance in thinking about what they read.

What are your thoughts on children’s Bibles? What are your favorites and why?

2017 First Quarter: What We Read

Instead of just listing all the books we read at the end of the year, I thought I would do a post every quarter to go into more depth with some of them, and to highlight some children’s books we enjoyed with S as well. Once more I’ve been surprised at how many books I read – having a list and the library and a sheet (Tim Challies’ Reading Challenge) to keep track of it really makes a difference for me!

January
Raoul Wallenburg: The Man Who Stopped Death. I started this one in December, borrowed from Ezra’s family. Raoul Wallenburg is one of Ezra’s heroes, a man who saved many Jews during the Holocaust. I enjoyed the book, but the style was more suited to late elementary.

They Say We are Infidels Mindy Belz. I wrote about this one previously. It was a very good and eye-opening read, but discouraging because there’s no “ending” with a struggle still going on in Iraq and Syria.

Dispatches from the Front Tim Keese. This was a Christmas gift and I really enjoyed it, once I got used to the “dispatches” style. Lots of inspiring stories of how God is working in the world. We plan on using it as a part of school for our kids someday.

The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers Kavanaugh. Very enjoyable, especially seeing what he had to say about some of the more controversial composers like Wagner and Mozart.

Loving the Little Years Rachel Jankovic. A really good one for me to read as we settled into new routines in our new house, and one I highly recommend to mothers “in the trenches.”

February
The Renewing of the Mind Project Barb Raveling. Mentioned in a previous post, really important for me in fighting PPD, though I don’t always love her writing style.

The First 1,000 Days This was about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life (conception-2 years), especially regarding nutrition. It was eye-opening to see how people don’t know things I take for granted like the necessity of washing hands and produce, but the book wasn’t what I was expecting – I was expecting it to be more about how I can teach them in the first 1,000 days, not just following the stories of mothers and their babies in that time frame.

More Charlotte Mason Education I have been reading a lot of Charlotte Mason books, partly to prepare for the future and partly because there are SO many out there I want to pick one or two to own. This one was short and mostly little summaries of ideas for different subjects.

Symphony for the City of the Dead Anderson. I listened to this one on tape and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was also very sad. Shostakovich isn’t a composer I had listened to or read much about before, so it was nice to become more familiar with him and his work.

Wildly Affordable Organic I learned a few little things, but mostly was disappointed by this book… but I hadn’t read about it beyond the title, so that may be why: it’s wildly affordable VEGETARIAN organic. We tried a few of her recipes and they weren’t bad but not super flavorful, and the $5 a day is per PERSON, so really we are pretty close to that (if you count S, which some days she eats as much as an adult, and I eat more than usual while nursing).

Dancing Through It Jenifer Ringer. I really enjoyed this since I used to do ballet, and it would definitely be something I would want our girls to read if either of them ever were seriously considering advanced ballet.

March
Hinds Feet on High Places I thought of this book a few months ago and decided I should read it since I kept thinking of the verse it is based on. While I don’t always agree with all the theology, it was very good for me to read it and I can definitely see myself reading it again if we have a 3rd kid, since a lot of Much Afraid’s struggles are ones I forsee myself having if facing PPD again.

Mission of Motherhood Sally Clarkson. This was recommended to me by a friend in Japan, and then I read Desperate which Sally Clarkson co-authors. I don’t always love her writing style but I love what she has to say and was really encouraged and challenged by this book, especially as lately I’ve felt I’ve been floundering a little as a parent with S growing and changing so much.

The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo Mary Purselley. Always fun to read what friends have written! This was more of a short story than a book, but it was an enjoyable quick read.

A Charlotte Mason Education similar to More Charlotte Mason Education. I like how concise these are but would probably go with “A Charlotte Mason Companion” over them, although I feel that one is too wordy.

Mission at Nuremberg I was really disappointed by this book, especially since it was one of WORLD’s books of the year a few years ago. There was a LOT of backstory that I felt was too lengthy. Really only the last few chapters held my attention, but those were the only chapters that were what I thought the book was going to be – I thought it was going to be more about the ministry during the trial and less about chaplain Gereke. But even worse was (especially considering it got such high praise from WORLD) that the theology in it was so so off many times. Not Gereke’s, but the author’s commentary.

A Grief Sanctified J.I. Packer. We started this book a few years ago and picked it up on and off, but only on our drive up from Oregon in January did we really make much progress in it. It’s mostly Richard Baxter’s words after the death of his wife, and is very good, regarding marriage, sanctification, and even some on depression that was really helpful to me. We highly recommend it!

Material World mentioned in a Charlotte Mason email I received, I put this one on hold at the library right away. It was fascinating to see and read about people’s lives and belongings. I just wish it wasn’t 20 years old! We were also pleased to find that it was very modest.

The Ministry of Motherhood Sally Clarkson. I hesitated to read this one since I wasn’t sure how different it would be from Mission of Motherhood. There is some overlap, and I feel like Ministry of Motherhood is more focused and will probably be more helpful to me when the girls are older, but it’s still very good for me to read now, giving me more ideas and direction for interacting with them and pointing them to God.

Both of her books are a bit longwinded and have lots of personal anecdotes that can get tedious and sometimes seem to replace what would be more helpful as direct teaching. Also, some commenters are irritated by their seemingly picture perfect life, but she does include some struggles and for me it’s encouraging to know what can be instead of just more examples of difficulty. So I do highly recommend her books but with those two side notes. They are very solid and encouraging and help on both a philosophical and practical level.I recommend The Mission of Motherhood more than The Ministry of Motherhood.


In the middle of…

Parenting Paul Tripp.

Children
Big Picture Story Bible We bought this for the girls for Christmas and love it! I am hoping to do a comparison of children’s Bibles soon and will write more about this and the next two then.
For Such a Time as This Angie Smith. S’s favorite “women Bible.”
The Biggest Story Kevin DeYoung. I got this more out of curiosity since I knew it was only a few chapters and wondered how it was different from others with the recent “boom” in children’s Bibles.
A Ride on Mother’s Back a book about babywearing! It was fun, though do note some nudity in some of the drawings.
Counting Birds Alice Melville.
Hurry and the Monarch.
Insect Detective.
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane. About monks illuminating the Bible. S fell in love with this book, especially after we used berries to stain paper.
Zin Zin Zin A Violin another favorite!
What Charlie Heard about Charles Ives. It’s neat to see some of the books for children about more modern composers like Ives.
An Egg is Quiet Dianna Aston. All of her books are BEAUTIFUL and we love them.

Our Favorite Young Toddler Books

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S loves books and we’ve found or been gifted some great ones! These are some of our favorites.

– It’s Time to Sleep
– Little Blue Truck
– Big Red Barn
– Goodnight Moon
– Corduroy
– Are You a Cow? (S in general likes Sandra Boynton books, though they sometimes drive Ezra and I crazy with how nonsensical they are)
– Any by Caroline Jayne Church – all her illustrations, but S especially loves I Love You Through and Through and Ten Tiny Toes (and any of her song ones).
– First 1,000 Words in Spanish
– books  by Dianna Aston
– books published by Global Fund for Children
– The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane
– Poke-a-Dot Goodnight Animals
– almost anything by Ezra Jack Keats, but Clementina’s Cactus is our favorite
– S has really enjoyed the Rookie Toddler series – interactive/educational

For New Big Siblings
– Hello Baby
– I’m a Big Sister (Joanna Cole)
– When You Were Inside Mommy (Joanna Cole)
– In the Womb (National Geographic)
– Don’t Eat the Baby
– Peter’s Chair (Ezra Jack Keats)

We have yet to find a potty training one we actually like, but “Diapers Are Not Forever” was the least painful one we’ve found.

In general, we like books that teach something, even if it’s just animals and animal sounds like Big Red Barn and Little Blue Truck… but S also loves the ones that don’t really, like Corduroy and Sandra Boynton’s.
We like having books that have body parts, counting, animals, colors, shapes,  alphabet, etc. so she’s getting exposed to that while we read to her. We also tend to read her anything she asks for, even if we have to paraphrase to get through the page, but as she gets older we are reading more and more what it says, even with slightly longer books like Clown of God (Tomie de Paola).