Five Ways I Make Time to Read

People, especially fellow moms, often ask me how I find time to read. In fact, I’ve been asked a few times this week.

That’s an interesting question. When do I read exactly? I have to stop and think about the question because, frankly, I feel my day isn’t complete if I don’t read for at least twenty minutes or more. It may seem silly that I don’t have a set routine I adhere to, or maybe crazier still that I am unaware of such a routine.

So, after some head scratching, here are five ways that I make time to read each day amidst meeting needs of home and family and homeeducating our children.

  1. Read in 10-20 minute spurts. I grab moments to read any chance I get. I know reading fills my emotional and mental tank, so I give myself permission to read here and there throughout the day: while the kids are playing or working on independent tasks, frequently for a few minutes just after dinner, and certainly after the kids go to bed for the evening.  Another wonderful way to do this is by listening to audiobooks. Two audio books I have listened to this year are Wonder and Pictures of Hollis Woods. I read these while exercising, folding laundry, and anytime I was driving solo.
  2. Read with a purpose. Once I started compiling the Orphan Adoption Book List, I was reading with a purpose. The list really focused my selections. Now I am working on a few more booklists and once again it helps me read with intention and drive. Additionally, once I discover an author that I enjoy, I read as many of his or her books as I can find. This year’s author is Wendell Berry. I fell in love with Jayber Crow of the Port William Membership and followed the book with Hannah Coulter, also set in Port William, Kentucky.
  3. Put down the cell phone. Perhaps the greatest distraction from daily reading for me is social media. Particularly Instagram and, less so, Facebook. I typically waste the first precious moments of reading time catching up on my IG feed. I find that putting the phone away affords me much more time for reading. I don’t mind my kids finding me with my nose in a book near as much as my face in a cell phone. Believe me, they see me doing both regularly.
  4. Give everyone a daily break. Ah naptime, you are my favorite! While two of our four children are too old for naptime, we continue to adhere to a quiet break each day. Typically for an hour or so all children will be in their rooms for either nap or an activity of their choice. Most of the time the kids use their quiet hour for listening to audiobooks or reading to themselves. While the kids are in their rooms I read for at least 20 minutes. It is my experience that housework will wait.
  5. Take a book and leave a book. I grab whatever book I am reading and throw it in my purse as we head out the door. This way if there is a snippet of time I am prepared to read instead of scroll (see number 3 above). Also, I leave a few books in my car, in so doing I am not caught without a book to read. That is how I came to read Miracles on Maple Hill (*highly recommended). I had left my current read at home before leaving for my daughter’s dance class. Luckily, I had this gem of a book in the car to read while waiting on her to finish.

With these five methods of increasing my reading time I have already read 11 books this year! I am listing what I have read so far. Maybe you will find one or two books to add to your night stand or keep in your car. (Click here if reading in a browser.)

It’s your turn, how do you make time for reading?

 

 

Pre-Order My New Children’s Book on Adoption on Kickstarter

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Welcome Read Aloud Revival Listeners!

 

Hello and welcome! My name is Brooke and I am so grateful that you are visiting This Temporary Home. I imagine that many of you may be new here from the Read Aloud Revival Podcast. If so, thanks for stopping by! It was an honor and a dream come true to chat with Sarah about books in general and those highlighting orphans and celebrating adoption specifically. In case you are a regular reader of the blog, but haven’t had the chance to listen to the podcast, head here to listen to Episode 87. You’ll love Sarah!

In order for you to become better acquainted, I am going to give you a few quick links that will hopefully take you where you want to go.

First, check out the Welcome Page. There you will find a brief introduction and a little more about the why behind this blog.

Next, visit the Community Page. There you will find links to my favorite posts by topic. A bit down the page will be all the posts I have written on foster care and adoption over the years.

Third, I am sure that if you listened to the podcast, you may want to get your hands on the orphan adoption book list. I am linking to all the booklist posts here, but you can also join the mailing list to receive your beautiful free pdf download designed by my friend Kasia.

Seven Books That Encouraged Me Along Our Journey (here)

Fifteen Picture Books To Celebrate Your Adopted Child (here)

Twenty Chapter Books that Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home(here)

Ten Books for Teens to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home (here)

Over 50 Books To Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption (here)

Christmas Books that Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption (here)

Finally, I mentioned on the podcast that you could download a free copy of my book, Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. You can do that by popping your email in the text box below. It is a separate sign up from the booklist, so you will want to sign up for both.

Also, you can preorder a physical copy of the book from my Kickstarter Campaign here. We are already a fully funded campaign after just three and a half days! I am completely excited, encouraged, and grateful for such an overwhelming response. Glory to God and a great team!

Well, that should be it for now. I am so very glad you stopped by! Please take a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the site, the book posts, and anything else that interests you. Then feel free to introduce yourself or leave any questions you might have either in the comments or by emailing me at Brooke@ThisTemporaryHome.com. I can’t wait to get to know you!

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Building Strong Families

Shared experiences. This is perhaps the number one way to build strong families. These shared experiences can be over service opportunities, spiritual disciplines, sports, nature walks, hiking, hobbies, and, one of our favorite ways, that of sharing great books.

In making the list of over 50 books highlighting orphans and celebrating adoption, I may have mistakenly thought that I was building a list of books dealing with broken families. While that is true on the one hand, it is an inaccurate assumption on the other. Families involved in orphan and foster care are typically looking to share strong family values with the children they foster or adopt.

Many of the books I recommend indeed celebrate family. In championing adoption, we are ultimately championing family. Nearly all of the picture books celebrate finding home and a place of safety and acceptance. A few of the chapter books that immediately come to mind which celebrate strong families encountered within the story, even while beginning in brokenness are:

I recently read The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, and it is such a beautiful story, for one reason among many, in that it esteems a strong family relationship. Sometimes we read books and see ourselves in them, sometimes we read them and see relationships as we wish they were. For children in the foster system, this book would fall into the later category.

That is another reason why I am so excited about my new book, Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. (Did you download your free copy yet?) It is a story about adoption, but it is simultaneously a story about a family wanting to add to their number, share the blessing of family that they have, and champion not only the cause of the orphan, but the power of family. How like God that he would join passions of my husband, to build strong families through counseling and biblical teaching, with our desire to adopt, and mine to write. This is the first time that I have looked at these three life goals and see them colliding as one.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Thirty Balloons is live! Click here to back our campaign and watch our video to learn more about the project. I can’t wait for you to preorder your copy, or copies, to share.

What are some of your favorite books that have strong families threaded within? I would love to read them too.

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A New Book to Carry With You

Sometimes I marvel which childhood bents will carry over to adulthood. For me, the love of a good book is probably foremost. So much so, that I remember on one occasion alphabetizing my home library. I must have been in third or fourth grade. Perhaps I also instituted a check-out operation, though for whom I cannot say.

The first book that clicked with me I checked out from my school library in the third grade. The name of the text has long eluded me. For years I looked in the same corner of the little school library for the book with the girl and the wagon wheel on the front only to be evaded. It is of little importance what the book was, or even its content. What matters is that the love of reading and learning was unlocked.

From that point on,  I was found digging through treasure troves of books. The hardcover, yellow-paged volumes were my favorite. Black Beauty (Dover Children’s Evergreen Classics), Little Women (Puffin in Bloom), The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1), and Old Yeller (Perennial Classics) soon became reading companions which still hold honored places on my shelves.

Then there are those books, purchased brand new especially for, or by, me. Books like Charlotte’s Web, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Little Princess (Puffin in Bloom), Matilda, and The Little House (9 Volumes Set). What memories I have of transforming new books into old friends! The sight, smell, and touch of them take me back to the age and place I was when I first read them and they became a forever part of me.

Today, our home library exceeds the shelf space allotted. Now, as then, I continue to find searching for classic and modern volumes therapeutic.

Many childish ways I left behind, but the books I carried with me.

The books we read to our children and the books they find as faithful friends, read and reread as yearly rhythms, they will carry with them long after they themselves can be carried.

Today, I want to encourage you to add a new volume to your shelf.  A new book to turn into worn pages, and its contents into an old friend.

I have written a children’s picture book, illustrated by my oldest daughter, Emily, about our adoption journey of our youngest son. From our first meeting, through the months and months of holding onto hope and seeking his adoption, this story will encourage and inspire you as you wait on the happy endings in your own life.

Many of you have read posts over the years concerning our adoption and foster care journey. Now, you can read our adoption tale to the children in your life that will leave them inspired, asking questions, and perhaps ready to slay a few dragons of their own that stand in the way of them attaining their God-given dream. I hope you will!

I believe that real books read on the laps of parents and with loved ones are the best tools to introduce and reaffirm the magic of story and strengthen family bonds. I hope that is the case with Thirty Balloons! But first, I need your help. Would you consider backing my Kickstarter campaign to publish 100 copies of Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale? I hope you will want a copy for you and a friend.

I am offering a free pdf download for those who pop their email into the box below! I pray it is a book you will want to carry with you. Go ahead and download your copy now! Then head over to Kickstarter to pre-order a copy to read with your family.

 

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Ten Books for Teens to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home

This is the last in a three post series analysis of books highlighting orphans and celebrating adoption. Download a free printable list of over 50 books that highlight orphans and celebrate adoption by joining our community of email subscribers (see below) and also visit my picture book and chapter book posts for direct links to these great resources!

These books are rich in words, setting, and storyline. They will be treasured even as they teach and equip your teen. I hope that you and your family enjoy them as much as I have. I linked the audio version of Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. Trust me, you will enjoy listening to this book! The harmonica pieces throughout bring the story to life in a way that words on a page alone cannot.

Happy reading and Happy National Adoption Awareness Month!

 

 

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Over 50 Books to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption

It is wisely proposed that you will be the same person ten years from now aside from the books you read, the places you visit, and the friends you make. Today I want to offer you a list of over 50 books that highlight orphans and celebrate adoption; books that may forever change who you are and who you are becoming. The common thread of these books are that the main characters are orphans, or their lives directly impact orphans. An orphan/ adoption story doesn’t a good book make, but a host of great literature is composed of stories of tragedy, triumph, and grit of young men and women who have lost their families and the journey that they take to overcome the difficulties of their past and present. These are stories that will either reflect your own life, or provide windows to view and learn from lives unlike yours– perhaps lives that you and I can impact for eternal good.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, or a biological parent, seeking books to celebrate your adopted child, champion the cause of the orphan, or encourage your child’s journey, I am sure you will find many stories on this list that will forever capture the heart and imagination of your family. I suggest you pre-read these stories to determine which ones will be best suited to your children if you have children who are sensitive to sorrow. I have personally read each book and would read them to our family according to the age separation that I made on the booklist.  Some of these stories have happy endings, some do not. I have noted the books which present with violence and sensitive content. You know what will be a trigger for your child for either healing or hurt. Many of our children come from hard places, therefore, while reading stories with death or domestic violence will not affect some children, others are highly sensitive and may need to read more lighthearted tales.

 

Another note which I have made on some of these stories involve worldview. Your worldview is the paradigm or framework with which you answer the main questions of life: why are we here, how did we get here, what is the chief end of man, what happens to us after we die? If this is a new topic for you, you may want to read more in my post, Mothers with a Worldview (here). Specifically, in A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the word magic is capitalized signifying that magic is a deity. This promotes a worldview of mysticism. Additionally, a few passages in the fascinating fictional book, Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter, struck me as promoting a naturalistic worldview. (Read more about this worldview here.) Freckles is a book worth reading and highly recommended! The characters and beauty of the limberlost will remain long after the last page is read. However, though these are two wonderful books with touching stories about orphans, there are also conversations worth having concerning them. (As a side, I noted profanity in the book, Freckles, due to a few times in this book when the Lord’s name is said in an irreverent manner.)

Many of us, no doubt you if you are reading this post, want to supply our children with books rich in truth, goodness, and beauty all the days they are growing in our home. Further, we want them to choose such books for themselves when they are grown and gone from our nest. I have come to the conclusion that many books are good and beautiful, fewer are true, good, and beautiful. Each can be read and appreciated when they are looked at through the proper lenses. We want to equip our kids to recognize and differentiate those books which are simply good and beautiful, and those books which are all three. Next we want them to cling tightly to the true, esteem that which is beautiful, and take the goodness with them always.

I hope that in reading the books found on this list and having conversations about them, that this end of instilling truth goodness and beauty will be met in your home. Further, that the hearts and minds of your children will be encouraged and equipped to show love and kindness to all people, accept who they are and their story in your family, and dream big. With God, all things are possible!

If you have other suggestions to add to this list or specific questions about any of the books therein, please leave a comment or email me at Brooke.Cooney.1@gmail.com. Also, a loving thank you to Kasia at Simply Pchee for designing this beautiful download for us all to print and enjoy. Visit her amazing design sight here.

Happy Reading!

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If I Could Give You One Gift It Would Be a Library Card

One of the great things about being a parent is that you get to catch up on all the books you missed in your own childhood!

~Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart.

library fun

Next month I am throwing a favorite things party for our homeschool community. At this party, each woman is to bring one of her favorite things to share with five other women. My husband wittingly quipped, Are you giving five library cards? What a fabulous idea! If I could give each person a library card I would–but, alas, an address and phone number is necessary for each account!

This summer we have participated in the Give Your Child the World Reading Challenge with Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast. In the challenge, we read wonderful literature based on different countries and regions around the world every week for eight weeks. Each book we selected came from Jamie’s beautiful new book baby, Give Your Child the World. A thorough list of books for students of all ages broken down by world-region.

My favorite time of day with each of our three children, and as a family, is the multiple times we sit and read aloud together. There is something about the shared story, vocabulary, and experiences that the pages of good books provide.

It is not necessary to have monetary means to travel the globe or walk in another man’s shoes. All we really need is a library card and a good list to guide us. This summer I spent my many hours reading several books about books. It may be a bit of an overkill that I take four books to my local library each week, several times a week, to guide my family’s reading selection. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want to share a list of books to help guide your family’s reading choices and direct your heart and mind to ponder the importance of reading together as a family to shape the character of your children and generations to come.  These books are rich and make wonderful additions to any home library.


Based on my review of each of the book lists, I would suggest starting with Honey for a Child’s Heart and Give Your Child the World. They help shape our parent hearts and present the information in an easy-to-read format. Utilizing these booklist books, we have chosen several new family favorites this summer; including these three:

What are your favorite books that you have read together as a family this summer? Where do you turn to help make your book selections? I would love to hear your ideas!

May the books be plenty and the hours spent together engrossed in a wonderful story be multiplied,

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The Top Eight Books I Read in 2015

With the availability of daily blog posts and twenty four hour news coverage, it takes a more disciplined effort to put the electronics away and curl up with a real book–even for avid readers like myself. However, reading seems to increase my focus and attentiveness and the retention of the information read. That being said, here are the top eight books that I read in 2015. They are listed in no particular order. Perhaps you will add them to your to be read pile for the new year?

As a side note, this would be a post about the top 7 or the top 10 books I read in 2015. However, I didn’t want to skip any of these below, and I didn’t want to add two more for the sake of conventionality. Alas, you will have to be comfortable with the little used number 8!

I have affectionately coined the late Chuck Colson as my Grandfather of Apologetics so it should come as no surprise that he would have two books listed in the top 8 of 2015. The Sky is Not Falling, was published in 2011 and I almost consider it prophetic as it is chock full of Colson’s predictions for the direction of our country if we do not change course. Reading this book four years after its publication date, many of his warnings have come to pass or are unfolding before our eyes. However, in classic Chuck Colson style, he doesn’t merely present the woes of the age, but also lists specific ways that we can and must turn the hearts of men toward Jesus Christ.

 

Chuck Colson entered into his eternal life in 2012. However, his long time associate, Anne Morse, consolidated his previously unpublished material written during the final years of his life in My Final Word. This is most likely in the top three of best books I read in 2015. You will gain wisdom and insight into a Christian worldview concerning topics such as: crime and punishment, natural law, Islam, same-sex marriage, the persecution of Christians, and life issues among others. I cannot recommend this book enough.

 

Russell Moore is the president of the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Council (ERLC). His wit and wisdom are among the best and his passionate voice for life and religious liberty rings loudly across our nation. This book is a call to set our minds and eyes on the Kingdom even as we live in and help to flourish the  world. It covers hot topics such as gun control, religious liberty, right to life, sex trafficking, and the list goes on. A must read concerning pertinent cultural topics of our day.

Openness Unhindered, is the second of Rosaria Butterfield’s books published since turning from her homosexual lifestyle to the Lord Jesus. This is a wonderful book addressing the topic of homosexuality and the church. Within its pages is one of the best chapters on sin I have ever read. A fantastic read that will better equip you concerning the topic of homosexuality, what the Bible has to say regarding all sexual sin, and how the church should address this topic.

Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness, is the first book I have read by the talented author, Eric Metaxas. This wonderful book filled with a short biography of seven men throughout history, is one that will leave you with a desire to know more about the men within its pages. A few of my favorite chapters were on Jackie Robinson, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You will not be able to put this book down. He has written 7 Women and the Story of Their Greatness which I am almost done reading now. However, I will save that recommendation for the greatest reads of 2016!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace, by Sarah Mackenzie is likened unto a glass of sweet tea on the front porch during a hot afternoon in the south. The sweet aroma and taste of what homeschooling can and perhaps should be is a delightful offering to overloaded homeshooling moms everywhere. In truth, I am already rereading this book! Sarah points us to truth, beauty, and goodness and beckons us to do the same with our children in our homes. If you are seeking peace in the full world of homeschooling, this is a must read for you.

 

Gift from the Sea was originally published in 1955. It is a beautiful poetic book about time, focus, and the ebb and flow of life. A beautiful, simple, refreshing read that will reorient you to some of the simple and important pieces of life. While I am not sure that I agree with all of the theological tones within this book, it provides a refocusing and graceful look at the fleetingness of time and the importance of relationships and work.

Fierce Convictions is a charmingly written biography on the poet, author, social reformer, and abolitionist Hannah More. More is a little known, yet grand and integral person in abolishing the slave trade in England. She is the counter part and best friend of William Wilberforce and is a wonderful role model for women of today. This book will challenge you and inspire you to utilize your talents and God-given abilities to influence culture and change the course of history within your own day and realm of influence.

 

And…..I am adding a bonus recommendation. A Match Made in Heaven, written in 2015 by my husband, Ron Cooney, is a marriage must read for couples at any stage. I can wholeheartedly recommend Ron’s book because I know that he practices what he preaches. Ron lives a life of authentic humility and faithfulness to God. His background in mental health counseling, experience as a pastor, and time spent counseling couples and families have prepared him to walk in obedience to writing this book.  I hope that you will purchase a copy of Ron’s book for yourself, a friend, an engaged or newly married couple, or a couple that you know needs godly direction in their marriage.

You can watch Ron teach from a few excerpts of his book, alongside our pastor, Willy Rice, here. This message is on your S.E.A.T. and how that affects your marriage.

What were some of your favorite books in 2015? I would love to hear them and add them to my list. Happy Reading!

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Proving the Resurrection of Christ

 Ready to Defend

During a time of year when bunnies, flowers and chocolates abound, Christians are tempted to believe that everyone will accept on faith what we preach as fact. What skeptics scoff at as a fictional fairy tale for the weak of intellect, the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be proven historically and logically concluded.

All salvation commences on an confession of faith in the final act of redemption that Jesus fulfilled on the cross. However, some converts will take more than merely the Bible’s word or that of a concerned friend or loved one to convince them of the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What about you? Was your conversion experience one of a skeptic convinced? Was it more with child-like faith? Was yours a conversion of the mind and emotions?

I came to know and accept Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life at eight years of age. I was one with a child-like faith that instantly responded to the pressing of the Holy Spirit on my heart to confess my sins and walk the isle of my baptist church to make my faith commitment to Jesus. I didn’t even consult with my parents before making the decision. One minute my family was standing in our pew singing Just as I  Am and the next minute my parents reacted by following me as I started crying and walking down the isle to meet the pastor waiting at the end.

Mine was not a conversion of a doubters mind. However, it is my job as a disciple maker to equip myself and the others who read my writing or listen to me teach with the ability to defend the faith. Further, to have ready answers for honest questions of seekers of the truth. Moreover, to equip the minds of children, teens, and adults God has blessed our paths with.

In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, we will address a few questions concerning the reliability of the scriptures and the proof of the resurrection. Today I want to highlight a few resources that have guided me in my studies and which will answer the questions that you or someone you know may face surrounding Easter and all that is celebrated within it.

Here are some questions you can look forward to answering with these resources:

    • Did the resurrection really happen?
    • How can we know that God’s Word, the Bible is accurate?
    • How did we get the Bible that we hold in our hand today?

 

Time to buckle the belt of truth and put on the helmet of salvation as we take up our shield of faith and carry the Sword of the Spirit walking in our feet ready with gospel shoes. (Ephesians 6)

Be ready,

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In-Between These Pages

As some of you may have read on Tuesday, I confessed I start multiple books before I am completely finished with one. Today, a midst preparing for homeschooling to start up in a few weeks,  I am in-between these pages:

 I heard Denise Eide speak at this year’s Florida Parent Educator’s Association Convention. The simplistic and thorough approach to teaching reading and spelling instantly made sense. I purchased this book along with a few other of Denise’s materials to assist in teaching Emily to read as we start Kindergarten in a few more weeks. Here is Denise’s website and the link to view her notes from the FPEA convention.

When we teach sight words, we are effectively stripping the power of the code and asking students to memorize visual symbols for each word. p. 19, The Logic of English

The difference between the literate and the illiterate is that the literate blame the problems on English, but the illiterate blame themselves. Both demonstrate misplaced blame. The problem is neither English nor individuals. The problem is that we cannot know what we were never taught. p. 21, The Logic of English

 Is there such a thing as absolute truth? How can we know? How can we be sure that the Bible is true? What scientific evidence exists to prove the age of the earth coincides with the Bible? These are a few of the questions addressed and answered in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. I have immensely enjoyed this book and am taking my time reading and rereading portions to commit facts to memory. If you are a skeptic, know of one, or want to be more prepared to live out 1 Peter 3:15 this is a must read for you.

To say “truth cannot be known” is self-defeating because that very statement claims to be a known, absolute truth. ~I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

 This wonderful book on the central spiritual practices of inward, outward, and corporate disciplines of the faith is a must read. The richness of ideas and the simplistic yet profound presentation of material is what has helped to sell more than 1 million copies of this book. If you are looking to grow deeper in your faith and walk with Christ, Celebration of Discipline is a must read.

Daily devotional reading is certainly commendable, but it is not study. Anyone who is after “a little word from God for today” is not interested in the Discipline of study.~ Celebration of Discipline,  p. 69

Are you reading any good books right now? If so, which ones? I would love to hear your suggestions!

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