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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What I Am Reading Wednesday

I had hoped to be finished with the Narnia series by Sunday but alas my pace slowed when we went out of town. So I am enjoying another week with Aslan; currently in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Please forgive me, or thank me, I am keeping it short today as I have run two 5K’s, biked 10 miles, and swam a bit already this week. In other words, I need a nap today!

I finished up Kelli Minter’s, The Fitting Room:Putting on the Character of Christ. It was a good read. I found her insight on forgiveness and humility to be among the best teaching I have read.

After reading, “Why I am Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey,” I ordered two of Dannah Gresh’s books and began reading, Pursuing the Pearl:The Quest for a Pure, Passionate Marriage. It is a very insightful read thus far on marriage and the pursuit of purity within it. I will tell you more when I am finished.

Yesterday I bought this book for 1.99 on Amazon special. I could not resist a title and preface like this one offered. Check it out and let me know what you think. It will be a few weeks before I start this read…I might be going at a snails pace.

That is what I am reading this Wednesday. What about you?

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What I Am Reading Wednesday

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!~ Emma Lazarus

This week we are preparing for our spring break trip to New Jersey and New York City. Our book basket is filled to the brim with books which reflect our future travel. Here are some of our favorites from the week.

This wonderfully illustrated book is full of an easy-to-follow story line as well as chalked full of wonderful facts on the bustling city of New York. It captured both the children’s attention levels and kept them throughout the story.

A beautifully illustrated story of the construction and journey of Lady Liberty from Paris, France to New York.

Miffy loves NYC and our kids loved Miffy as well as the real-life photographs of many monumental sites throughout New York City.

Here are a few I would recommend on New York for children second grade and older.

Laugh if you will, but this is where I am getting my factual background for our trip up to the top of the Empire State Building…or at least the observation deck on the 86th floor.

Emily continues to move through the Little House Series. Currently we are reading

A poem that Ma wrote in Laura’s autograph book is one that I desire to commit to memory.

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,

Five things observe with care,

To whom you speak,

Of whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where.

Today we read chapter 17, Name Cards.  Our eyes widened and lips turned upward in a smile when to our delight, Almanzo asked Laura to go for a ride in his enviable buggy behind the beautiful Morgan horses, Lady and Prince. Ah, romance!

Joshua currently enjoys reading

We are working on learning his colors. However, he most enjoys making the animal noises.

I am continuing to read


That is what we are reading this Wednesday, and you?

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