A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Reading

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting anxiously to hear about our weekend in New York. I will write a post soon. For now, I’m still in recovery mode – which should tell you just how awesome the trip was.

I’ve always wanted to read The Great Gatsby, it’s even on my 30 before 30 list. But for one reason or another, it never made it to my “reading now” list. Until about two weeks ago. I was at the library and noted that had a copy on their “for sale” rack, so I bought it {side note – library “sales” are awesome and cheap}. I set it aside with the hopes of reading it in New York.


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Fast forward to the morning we fly to New York. I opened the Great Gatsby, read about 8 pages, and stop.

Clearly, not a stellar beginning.

On the flight home, we had time to pass at the airport, so while Jonathan finished up some work, I started reading. And reading. And reading. I read 100 pages in one sitting. I finished the book after two more sittings.

For those of you who have never read the book {or are hoping to see the movie this summer}, I won’t ruin anything. Promise. But, I was struck with this thought –

I didn’t like The Great Gatsby.

The story seemed like a dream that weaved in and out of consciousness, making it hard for me to separate reality from fiction. Based on the plot, I suppose that is exactly what Fitzgerald was going for. A surreal feeling stood with me from start to finish.

I had to mull over in my head if I was actually disappointed by The Great Gatsby. I had expectations of a great book, one that would become part of my annual reads. Instead, it will become a book “I read that one time”. But, the beauty of it is this – Even though I didn’t think The Great Gatsby was all that great, it’s still a wonderful read.

When an author can make you feel exactly how he is writing, that is something amazing. When you read a daydreamy, fuzzy-around-the-edges book and you feel grounded the whole time, the author has missed his mark. But, even 70 years after his death, Fitzgerald has my head twirling around, slightly dazed and confused. Just like his characters.

Fitzgerald taught me something, something beyond his written word. He taught me that whether someone likes your story or not, you need to make them feel your writing. Make them hate you or love you, so long as they feel you.

Top Ten {Tuesday} I love reading. And if there is one trait I want to pass along to my children {besides a love of Indian food}, it’s to have a love of reading as well. Because of that, we read. A lot. After countless trips to the library, reaching the max limit of books allowed and reading for hours a day, I’ve got my favorite “go to” children’s books.

1. Fancy Nancy {by Jane O’Connor} – I love Nancy because she uses “big” words and gives easy definitions {a plume is a feather}. Plus, the stories lines are super cute, girly, but oh so smart. And it doesn’t hurt that Nancy loves all things Parisian.

2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe {by C.S. Lewis} – I don’t remember when I originally read this first book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series, but I have always loved it. Even as a child. And over the Christmas break, I decided to read it to Julia. Based on her begging to read it every day, I think she loved it too.

3. Where The Wild Things Are {by Maurice Sendak} – Again, a favorite from my own childhood, I think this book perfectly represents my two queens of all wild things.

4. Chester’s Way {by Kevin Henkes} – A great story about being your own person, making friends and taking adventures.

5. Green Eggs and Ham {by Dr. Seuss} – While all of Dr. Seuss’s books rock, I love this one the most. That could be because I use it as leverage when my girls don’t want to try new foods – I just tell them, “I do like them Sam I am!” and they buy it every time.

6. Good Dog, Carl {by Alexandra Day} – The “Carl” series is a sweet story of a Rottweiler who plays nanny for a baby. There are very few words, but the pictures are sweet, creative and lead to lots of fun imaginative questions.

7. Harold and the Purple Crayon {by Crockett Johnson} – Harold, an inquisitive boy, makes his own world with his purple crayon in hand. A favorite with Julia because of all the purple.

8. Olivia {by Ian Falconer} – A spunky, adventurous little pig with great style. What’s not to love?

9. Giggle, Giggle, Quack {by Doreen Cornin} – Hilarious. Seriously, every time I read it, I belly laugh. Love it.

10. Harry Potter {by J.K. Rowling} – While this series is too mature for the kids right now, I’m looking forward to the time we can all read it together.

What are your favorite children’s books?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

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I love to read. Love, love, love. However, that hasn’t always been the case. I remember pitching a fit in 7th grade when my mom made me read “Little Women”. Clearly, she didn’t realize how long that book was and that it had no pictures and that it was written so, so long ago. Pure torture to my pre-teen self. I begrudgingly began reading.

And I loved it.

From that moment, my life was changed. I read every book I could get my hands on.

When we had Julia, I was convinced that to make a reader, you need to read to your children. So we read. A lot. Know what? That girl wants to read all.the.time. She’ll even chose to read over watch television. Be still my grateful heart.

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About three weeks ago, Julia’s preschool sent home flyers for Scholastic Books. I remember Scholastic from when I was little, but hadn’t looked into it until we got the flyer. I think I circled every item on the flyer. And then I realized I could order from their website. Whoa. My first go ’round, I had over $100 worth of items in my cart. Jonathan had to remind me that we didn’t need all those books right now and would have plenty of chances to buy them in the future. I whittled down my list to under $70 {really, that was getting it to the least amount – books are addicting}.

We got our order this week. While I set aside a majority of the books for Julia’s birthday and the girls’ St. Nicholas gifts, they did each get a book  when the order arrived. They were thrilled. And frankly, so was I. I’m hoping that with the help of Scholastic I can help the girls grow into having a deep love of reading.

Have you ever ordered from Scholastic? How do you encourage reading for your children?

Visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

{Be sure to enter my giveaway for a copy of The Help}

I’m a planner. If I thought that it was at all reasonable, I’d have the next 5 years of my life planned out. I’ve tried that before. Trust me, it doesn’t work. But, I can plan out certain projects that I want to get done before the end of summer.

1. Paint Baby Boy’s Changing Table – We have the same changing table we used with the girls. It’s a little brown, three tier table. It’s nice, but because of Baby Boy’s new-to-us white crib, the table doesn’t match his room. So I’m setting out to paint the table white. Maybe, just maybe, I might add some blues and greens to it. Maybe.

2. Get a Purse Hook – My purse ends up either on the floor or kitchen counter. Neither place is very good, because it’s either in danger of little hands or taking up space. I’d love to find one like this at a repurpose store ::

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3. Add Art/Color to the House – Thanks to pinterest, I’ve got a lot of wonderful ideas. However, I don’t have tons of time or money to see them all through. But, this is one idea that I really love

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4. Finish Julia’s Dress – I’m in the process of making a dress for Julia {as part of my 30 before 30}. I’ve stepped away from it for the last several weeks, but I think it’s time to come back to it.

5. Paint Baby Boy’s Room – Currently, one of the walls in Baby Boy’s room is hunter green. And the window valence is a green/red/khaki combo. Not my favorite, as it looks super office-y. We are planning to tone down the green and get new curtains.

6. Plan Julia’s 4th Birthday Party – In my I’m-a-planner nature, I realize that I’m most likely not going to be up for planning Julia’s 4th birthday weeks after Baby Boy makes his arrival. Slowly I’ve been setting aside ideas for her party {going with a princess and knight theme}, so that when the time comes everything is ready to go.

7. Take a mini-vacation – Our family is in need of a little vacation. Nothing major, just a few days away. We are currently looking at visit South Padre at the end of August. Fingers crossed all goes well and we can enjoy beach time together.

8. Plan Julia and Hannah’s Spring School Schedule – We started preschool yesterday. Nothing major, just learning numbers, basic math, ABC’s and introduction to writing/reading. {I do need to brag for a second. Julia totally wrote her own name yesterday!} We started school so early, because I plan to take off November and December. But, before Baby Boy arrives, I want to have the spring planned out, as to not have any excuses for not finishing the school year off strong.

9. Start Christmas/St. Nick Shopping – After last year, we decided to go forward with not exchanging gifts on Christmas. We are celebrating St. Nicholas Day and using that as our gift giving holiday. I am planning to make gifts for our neighbors and have some pretty great ideas going. This one I thought was really cute ::

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10. Read More – That seems a bit vague, but I’m really wanting to read a few more good books as the summer ends and fall begins. I’ve gone through two in the last month, so I’m hoping to going through two or three more. Just a little mama time when the girls sleep.

Do you have an end of summer to do list? If so, what’s on it?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten {Tuesday}Every once in a while, I think about putting my blog on hold. Sometimes, forever. Sometimes, just for a few days. The reasons vary from real life coming first, to not having much to write about. But for the last several days, my blog {and anything internet related} has been pretty far from my mind. Why? Well, I’ve got a list for ya:

1. I’m reading The Help. And by golly, it is a good book. Makes me want to say things like “Law, she done gotten herself prettied up”. Or “I swanee, if I done told you once, I told you a thousand times”.

2. It’s hot. I know, I know, unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, it’s hot. But seriously, I’m breaking a sweat as I type. At ten o’clock at night. In the a/c. With the fan going. Law, help me. That’s pregnancy in Texas. In the summer.

3. I’m being more intentional with Julia. I hate to admit this, but I haven’t been the best mama lately. When Hannah naps, I have Julia have her quiet time. But I know more than anything, she just really wants mama-time. Because of whatever reason, I’ve been holding on to that me-time a little too much. But last week, I started spending half the time with her, then half the time alone {cause we both still need our quiet times}. It’s been really good.

4. I’m reading The Help. Really, you’ve got to read it. And if you grew up in the South, I consider it mandatory.

5. I’m being more intentional with my house. I don’t really like spending an entire day cleaning. For the last two weeks, I’ve been cleaning just a little every day. Sure, things still get overlooked or not cleaned well enough, but surprisingly, my house has stayed in pretty good shape for pretty in such little work. Mama likes.

6. It’s hot. And I don’t like to do anything when I’m hot.

7. I’m getting the girls’ school work in order for the fall. I’m planning out their weeks from now until the end of October. Hoping to start school on August 1. Planning out 12 weeks of schoolwork {with printing out projects and assignments for Julia} is harder than I expected.

8. I’m getting more and more forgetful. And I come up with these fantastic post ideas but them forget them before I can even write them down. Don’t even ask how I’m doing with remembering what we need at the grocery store… oy vey.

9. I’m reading the Help. Ok, ok, I know I’ve mentioned this already. But seriously. So. Good. I haven’t read through a book this fast in a while. Just got it on Saturday and already over halfway finished.

10. Life just gets like this. And I find myself having too much fun making the girls homemade playdough, taking them to the dollar movie and enjoying just being a mama, to think about life outside of that.

What keeps you from blogging? 

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Our living room is set up in such a way that there is a great little space between our long sofa and love seat. Many a day, the girls have played back there. Jack, on occasion, has even taken to hiding from the girls resting there. But in the last couple of weeks, it’s seen little use. Which I find a little sad, because if I could comfortable fit, I’d be in that little nook all day.

This weekend I came across a cute {and easy} idea from Pinterest ::

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On Monday, with the girls help, we created our own little reading nook ::

And least you think that the girls are quiet, non-messy readers, this was how their nook looked within the first 2 minutes ::

Have you ever made a reading nook? Or do you/your kids have a reading nook?

Visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

Gone are the days that I can pour over a book for hours. Twenty minutes, sure. But hours? Never. Because of that, my reading has been limited to “easy reads”, which in my case tends to be anything more modern and non-classical. unfortunately, classics tend to be my favorites {or books written in classical form}. So I haven’t read a new-to-me classic since Julia was born {though, I have re-read a few favorites}.

Enter the Kindle for iPad:

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About a month ago, I downloaded Kindle to my iPad, mostly because I needed to buy a book for church. Then I started browsing through Amazon’s Kindle collection and found a treasure mine full of free classics. I downloaded a handful with the hopes of one day reading them.

Earlier this week, I realized one day really just means never in mom world, and decided to start that day reading a new classic. Which classic did I choose?

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

According to the Kindle app, I’m only 4% through the book, but so far it is good! The app has the sentences and paragraphs broken up for “easy” reading and I can fly through a chapter in no time. It has an easy bookmark feature, taking me right back to the last page I read. Even better… if I have to quickly turn the app off, it still saves my page without my prompting! Honestly, between the girls, Jack, errands and chores, I use that last feature more than bookmarking the spot myself.

Here’s to delving back into good {but challenging} reads!

What have you read lately?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

When I was a child, my mom introduced me to Angelina Ballerina. The first book is Angelina and Alice; a precious story about two mice who are dancers and best friends. I remember loving it. A few weeks back, while at the library, I thought Julia might like Angelina and Alice, so we borrowed the book. Oh was I right.

She seems harmless, but she's not...*

From their first introduction, all Julia talks about is Angelina. All she wants to listen to is ballet music and dance “like Angelina”. All she wants to read is Angelina. All she wants to watch is Angelina {thanks PBS!}. Angelina. Angelina. Angelina.

One day last week we read through our 9 Angelina books 4 different times. Doesn’t seem too bad, right? But these aren’t small books. And typically Julia asks questions about each page {“Why is Angelina wearing a purple dress?” “Why is Angelina sad?” “Why is Angelina’s bike red?”}. So each session lasted about 30 minutes. Times four. That’s a lot of Angelina. Even for an avid reader like me. By the last reading session I had to put my foot down. Angelina was literally driving my crazy. I would read no more. Poor Julia was a bit heartbroken, but I made it up to her by letting her watch an episode of Angelina while I made dinner {told you she was obsessed}.

Since then, I’ve made an effort to set some reading rules. We can read all the books twice – once in the morning and once on the afternoon. Any other time, Julia can choose one or two, no more. Angelina is still driving me a bit crazy {mostly because it’d be nice to read any other book} but at least I’m not reading for two hours.

Maybe it’s time to look into audiobooks.

*photo credit

Top Ten {Tuesday} I would caution from calling myself a bibliophil these days, since reading anything beyond Curious George Goes to the Circus is pretty scarce. But this weekend gave me with lots of opportunity to read while I was traveling. The time provided me with a renewed sense of love for reading and made me recall the books that have made the biggest impression on me over the years. Here, in no real order, are my top favorite books.

1. Scarlet Pimpernel – Perhaps this is justly placed at Number 1. Scarlet Pimpernel is favorite book and has been for years. If I’m going to read, and can’t find something to hold my interest, I turn to Scarlet Pimpernel. I’ve read it at least a dozen times. {Perhaps that’s why I don’t read a lot of books – I usually re-read all my favorites.}
2. Harry Potter series – Go ahead and laugh. Or agree with me. People seems so divided on the Potter series. I started the Potter series at this crazy, painful time in my life. It was a great escape from reality and I loved it. I’ve read the last 3 books several times and while I don’t plan to re-read them before the release of the last movie, they will come out again at some point.
3. Chronicles of Narnia – I grew up reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but it wasn’t until Jonathan bought me the series that I had read the others. Amazing. Like most people know, there is such amazing allegories through out this series that just capture me. And my overwhelming love of lions doesn’t hurt.
4. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden – A harrowing semi-autobiographical story about a teenaged girl battling schizophrenia. Haunting in many ways, this book made me walk away realizing the true struggle and battle of mental illness.
5. The Alchemist – I read this book while struggling with my faith in my last semester of college. I read it back to back in less than a month. Then I made Jonathan read it. Then our friend, then my mom. And then I re-read it. God really used the Alchemist to push me over from complacency to  desire to seek Him.
6. The Bible – Jonah – As a Christian I will say that the Bible is by far the best “book” to read. It constantly speaks to me in new ways, revealing God’s heart to me. However, over the course of the years, no book in the Bible has spoken to me more than Jonah. A constant reflection of who I am in comparison to my great and mighty God, Jonah and I are two very similar people.
7. Pride and Prejudice – I’m not one for love stories {or romances}. And if I’m going to read one, I need strong characters, nothing fruity and shallow. If you’ve ever read Pride and Prejudice {or seen the movies} you know there is nothing weak or shallow about Darcy and Elizabeth. And while my little teenaged heart use to go pitter-patter for Darcy, my woman’s heart go pitter-patter for having my own Darcy.
8. To Kill a Mockingbird – I am fairly certain it is a right of passage for all Southerners to read Harper Lee. A beautiful book about racism, seeing past skin color and the heart of the Deep South.
9. The Hiding Place – While I was introduced to Corrie ten Boom as a child, it wasn’t until I read the Hiding Place as an adult that I fully comprehended the overwhelming truths in her book.
10. A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series – I have slowly made my way through the first three books in this series since May. I think my willingness to already throw them into a favorite category comes from 1) my love of Austen, 2) my gratitude at the books stay so close to the true personalities of Darcy and Elizabeth. See my review here.

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

We have family in town, so the blog has taken back seat these last few days. However, I wanted to pass along a wonderful book giveaway my friend Andrea is doing {PLUS, it’s her first ever giveaway!}.

The book is titled, Safely Home, and is a realistic fiction on the underground church in China. Read here for more information.

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Be sure to enter, you have until Saturday! And when you do, tell Andrea I sent ya!

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