Read Alouds for December 2005

December 31, 2005 Categories: Books , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Red, White and Blue Goodbye by Sarah Wones Tomp
The Teddy Bear by David McPhail
Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funk
Grandpa Loves by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
What’s That Awful Smell? by Heather Tekavec
Tell Me What It’s Like to Be Big by Joyce Dunbar
Stop! It’s Christmas! by Mary Manz Simon
Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Bostrom
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Frosty the Snowman by Carol North
The Little Fish That Got Away by Bernadine Cook
Christmas Is Coming by Ruth J. Morehead
The Finest Christmas Tree by Ann Hassett
The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
A Children’s Zoo by Tana Hoban
Before I Go To Sleep by Thomas Hood
An Angel Came to Nazareth by Maggie Kneen
Who Was Born This Special Day? by Eve Bunting
Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Noah’s Reading – December 2005

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Garfield Older and Wider by Jim Davis
Garfield Chews the Fat by Jim Davis

Natalie’s Reading – December 2005

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Hannah’s Winter of Hope Jean Van Neeuwen
Girls Rule by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
Hurry Home, Candy by Meinert DeJong

Reading List for 2006

December 30, 2005 Categories: Books | Comments Off  

Here’s my planned reading list for 2006. It has 57 titles on it (in no particular order), the first four of which I started this year and plan to finish in the first few weeks of next. I read 76 books this year (edit 12/31: 77 books, I finished Snow in August by Pete Hamill this morning), not counting the read-alouds with the kids. I have no idea if I’ll actually get to all of these, but these are the ones I want to read. This list should also leave enough room for the new books that come out and I can’t resist, and the occasional title to review for Mind and Media. I also read the Bible. This is supposed to happen on a daily basis, but that hasn’t always the case. Being more consistent in this area is one of my goals for the new year.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill
1776 by David McCullough
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge
The Fulness of Times by Ron Rennick
Connecting With Your Kids by Timothy Smith
Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Monster by Frank Peretti
Obsessed by Ted Dekker
Jack’s Life: A Memory of C. S. Lewis by Douglas H. Gresham
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Last Light by Terri Blackstock
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
The March by E. L. Doctorow
S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart
The Ha-Ha by Dave King
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
A Widow’s Walk: A Memoir of 9/11 by Marian Fontana
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids On 25 Words Or Less by Terry Ryan
Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
Trinity by Leon Uris (re-read)
Fourth Dawn by Bodie & Brock Thoene
Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself In Books by Maureen Corrigan
The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Light From Heaven by Jan Karon
Club Sandwich by Lisa Samson
Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
The Novelist by Angela Hunt
More Than Words: Contemporary Writers on the Works That Shaped Them by James C. Schapp & Philip Yancey, editors
Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey
Fresh Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson (re-read)
A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle
The Last Disciple by Sigmund Brouwer & Hank Hanegraaff (re-read)
The Last Sacrifice by Sigmund Brouwer & Hank Hanegraaff
Patrick: Son of Ireland by Stephen R. Lawhead
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
A Cook in Time by Joanne Spence
Cooks Overboard by Joanne Spence
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White
Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
A Year With C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings From His Classic Works
God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis
Rise to Rebellion: A Novel of the American Revolution by Jeffery Shaara
The Glorious Cause: A Novel of the American Revolution by Jeffrey Shaara
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (re-read)

Books Read in 2005

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Here’s my completed reading list for 2005. This doesn’t include all of the read-alouds with the kids, but does include everything else – even the “fluff.” I’ve added a rating system and a list of books I started but couldn’t finish.

Rating system:
1 star – Hated It!
2 stars – Didn’t Like It
3 stars – Liked It
4 stars – Really Liked It
5 stars – Loved It!

I can’t imagine there will be any “1 star”‘s. If I get a significant amount into a book and don’t like it, I quit reading.

White by Ted Dekker – 3 stars
Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins – 3 stars
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger – 5 stars
Tiger Lillie by Lisa Samson – 4 stars
The Last Disciple by Hank Hannegraaf – 3 stars
Mom’s Everything Book for Daughters by Becky Freeman – 3 stars
Mom’s Everything Book for Sons by Becky Freeman – 3 stars
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – 4 stars
At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols – 4 stars
Sandpebbles by Patricia Hickman – 4 stars
Dread Champion by Brandilyn Collins – 3 stars
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell – 5 stars
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – 3 stars
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss – 4 stars
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – 4 stars
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell – 4 stars
A Tale of Three Kings: a Study in Brokenness by Gene Edwards – 4 stars
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks – 4 stars
The Broker by John Grisham – 3 stars
A Continual Feast by Jan Karon – 4 stars
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger – 4 stars
March: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks – 3 stars
Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith by Martha Nibley Beck – 3 stars
A Patchwork Planet (audiobook) by Anne Tyler – 5 stars
Home Learning Year By Year by Rebecca Rupp – 3 stars
The Lazarus Trap by Davis Bunn – 3 stars
Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman’s Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond by Deborah Laake – 3 stars
Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax – 4 stars
Ireland: A Novel by Frank Delaney – 5 stars
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – 4 stars
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
Book Lust: Recommended Reading For Ever Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl – 3 stars
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
Evensong by Gail Godwin – 4 stars
C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson – 2 stars
More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl – 3 stars
I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brendan Manning – 4 stars
J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
K is for Killer by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
N is for Noose by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
P is for Peril by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ John Piper & Justin Taylor, Editors – 4 stars
R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton – 3 stars
The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers: Improving the Way Your Family Eats, One Meal at a Time! by Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss – 3 stars
On Writing by Stephen King – 4 stars
The Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher – 4 stars
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – 3 stars
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler – 4 stars
The Bible or the Axe: One Man’s Dramatic Escape from Persecution in the Sudan by William O. Levi – 3 stars
In the Beginning There Were No Diapers by Tim Bete – 4 stars
The Justice by Angela Hunt – 4 stars
Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms by Dena Dyer – 3 stars
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda – 4 stars
Notes From a Small Island (audiobook) by Bill Bryson – 4 stars
Heaven by Randy Alcorn – 5 stars
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – 5 stars
Brokenness: How God Redeems Pain and Suffering by Lon Solomon – 4 stars
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler – 3 stars
Songbird by Lisa Samson – 4 stars
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg – 2 stars
Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss – 4 stars
Outrageous Love by Sheila Walsh – 3 stars
Run Plant Fly by Ellie Belew – 4 stars
The Difference Between Men and Women: Stories by Brett Lott – 3 stars
Making It Up by Penelope Lively – 3 stars
Snow in August by Pete Hamill – 4 stars

Books I Didn’t Like Enough to Finish:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
What She Left For Me by Tracie Peterson

2005: Year in Review

December 28, 2005 Categories: Holidays , Memes & Quizzes | 1 Comment  

Saw this on The Prattling Pastor’s Wife and thought it would be a good way to wrap up the year.

What did you do in 2005 that you’ve never done before?
Blogged!

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t start one until August – the one about losing weight. But I’m doing it, so it counts, right? I can’t remember any others.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My best friend became a grandma last month – does that count?

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my friend, Beve. I blogged about her here.

What countries did you visit?
Canada. Not much of a trip when it’s only an hour away!

What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
Patience.

What date from 2005 will remain etched in your memory and why?
March 31st – our 10th anniversary. We went away for four days/three nights by ourselves.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably the writing job for ClubMom.

What was your biggest failure?
Giving up coffee. Oh, yeah, that was one of those New Year’s resolutions…

Did you suffer illness or injury?
This wasn’t such a great year where health was concerned. I fought pleurisy for three months. I sprained my right ankle once and my left ankle twice.

What was the best thing you bought?
Our microscope, I guess.

Where did most of your money go?
I’ll echo Leann on this one, bills and debt. We’re in a better place financially going into 2006, thank God. Not huge mountains of money, but a little breathing room for the first time in a long time.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going away with Kevin for our 10th anniversary and various writing opportunities.

What scripture is a theme of 2005?
2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Compared to this time last year are you:

a. Happier or sadder?
Happier!

b. Thinner or fatter?
Thinner – by 35 pounds!

c. Richer or poorer?
Richer – less debt and a little more income.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Can’t think of anything.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Getting impatient with my kids.

How did you spend Christmas?
At a beautiful Christmas Eve service and then Christmas Day at my parents’ house.

Did you fall in love in 2005?
I stayed in love – that’s even better!

What was your favorite TV show?
Lost, House, NCIS

What was the best book you read?
Only one? Heaven by Randy Alcorn.

What was your greatest musical discovery of 2005?
Mercy Me

What did you want and get?
An MP3 player!

What did you want and not get?
Can’t think of anything.

What was your favorite film this year?
I’ll say Cinderella Man and Walk the Line, but I haven’t seen the Narnia movie yet.

What did you do on your birthday?
Had a joint birthday party with my son, Josiah, who was turning 4.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my sisters all lived closer to me.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
I don’t have a “personal fashion concept”. I wear what’s clean and what’s comfortable, and occasionally dress up for church.

What kept you sane?
God, my husband, my sisters, and my friends.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hugh Laurie on House. There’s something about a grouchy, crippled, sarcastic doctor… I must need help.

What political issue stirred you the most?
My frustration with the War in Iraq. And yes, I like President Bush and I voted for him, and I think Iraq is better off without Hussein, so let’s not start an argument shall we? ~wink~

Who did you miss?
Andrea, Debra, and Marni – my sisters.

Who was the best new person you met?
Stefanie – a new friend at church who moved from my old home town – although we didn’t know each other there.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
Be discerning.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Still the One by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange

Looks like we made it
Look how far we’ve come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we’d get there someday

They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”
But just look at us holding on
We’re still together still going strong

You’re still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You’re still the one I want for life
You’re still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You’re still the one I kiss good night

Ain’t nothin’ better
We beat the odds together
I’m glad we didn’t listen
Look at what we would be missin’

Sappy, I know, but it’s true. I usually despise Shania Twain’s music, but this song sums up my relationship with Kevin. We were told that we’d never make it, and by our Christian “friends” no less. So glad we didn’t listen.

Well, I guess that sums up 2005. If any of you decide to do this on your site, let me know so I can come visit.

Our Christmas

December 27, 2005 Categories: Football , Holidays | Comments Off  

We had a lovely Christmas. I won’t bore you with every single detail, but here are a few highlights:

~ Watching the Seahawks beat the Colts on Christmas Eve with my dad and brother-in-law. The best part of this was the restraint the Seahawks showed in celebrating their victory in light of the week the Colts have had. (The Indianapolis coach is Tony Dungy. His son committed suicide this week.)

~ Going to a Christmas Eve service and being able to sit with my family. I didn’t sing, or play the piano, or direct the choir, or read a Scripture. Just sat with my husband and tried to keep four children who are excited about Christmas quiet and still for 45 minutes. Best part: my sister singing a song that she wrote. The words are incredible. I’m going to e-mail her for a copy and post them later.

~ The kids loved all of their presents. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch. There’s nothing better than hearing, “Oh, Mom and Dad, thank you, thank you!” After Natalie opened her perfume science kit that she had wanted so badly, she kept saying, “You’re kidding. You’re kidding. I can’t believe it!”

~ Playing Catch Phrase with my mom and sister and her husband.

~ Eating great food and not counting Weight Watchers points.

~ A husband who buys wonderful gifts like these:

It was a good Christmas. And in the middle of all the gifts, food, and busy-ness, we remembered why we celebrate.

My Favorite Carol

December 24, 2005 Categories: Holidays , Music | Comments Off  

Hark! the herald angels sing:
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell;
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Risen with healing in His wings,
Light and life to all He brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Come, Desire of nations come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the Woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface:
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam, from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

May your Christmas be filled with joy and laughter, friends and family, and time to remember Whose birthday we celebrate!

Beautiful Christmas Reflections…

Categories: Holidays | Comments Off  

…from Sherry at Semicolonhere.

My Least Favorite Part of Christmas

December 23, 2005 Categories: All About Me , Holidays , Rants | Comments Off  

Do toy company executives hate parents? Would it really kill them to package their toys in square boxes? These were the thoughts I was mulling as I wrapped gifts for two hours last night. I love buying my kids gifts, and I love watching them open them. Wrapping – not so much.

I detest the boxes that have three square sides, but the fourth is – not. It’s especially frustrating when you know darn well the toy inside isn’t oddly shaped. Maybe the toy companies have a deal with the wrapping paper companies. Kickbacks on all the times you have to re-wrap because your measurements didn’t come out right?

One of the gifts I got Noah is a remote control flying saucer. The box is square on three sides, and slanted on the fourth. I got Josiah the same thing, only a different brand (so they look slightly different and there won’t be any, “No, that one’s mine!” fights). Same toy, same shape, and yet this one was packaged in a beautiful, perfectly square box. My husband walked into the room (He had been downstairs blissfully playing a computer game while I wrestled with scotch tape and ribbon.) and found me clutching this box with tears of joy running down my face. When he asked, “What on earth is wrong?”, I simply sobbed, “It’s square, it’s square!”

Then we have the hunting game for Jonathan that plugs into the VCR. It has three nicely square sides. The fourth is completely open. I suppose this is to give a better view of the toy inside, and therefore my assumption that it’s packaged that way to give moms fits is a little paranoid. I managed to get the thing wrapped, but when I picked it up to move it, I put my finger right through the paper on that fourth side. My Christmas cheer flew out the window as I muttered, “Son of a nutcracker!” a la Buddy in Elf.

I had just finished wrapping the last misshapen hulk of a present and belted out a rousing Hallelujah Chorus, when the phone rang. It was my friend calling to tell me about her day. Seems her car had caught fire on the side of the road and completely melted the engine and dashboard. (She had her three sons with her, but they all made it out safely.) She told me her story of the 911 operator who insisted on an exact street address in order to send the fire department, to which she replied, “I’m on the side of the road, in the middle nowhere, just tell them to drive down Graham Road until they see the flaming Suburban!”; and the oh-so-helpful gentleman who stopped and told her she should really get back in the car and turn the hazards on to prevent an accident (I’m not kidding); and the man driving the medical supply truck full of oxygen who parked right next to her vehicle to see if he could help, to which she said, “Well, you could move that van full of flammable material away from my burning car!” As I laughed with her until my sides hurt, I realized there are (many) worse things than wrapping asymmetrical boxes. We praised God that it had happened a few miles from home, and not the next day when they would have been driving over a mountain pass to Grandma’s house with no cell phone reception and a vehicle full of Christmas gifts. God is good.

Now if only my friend will call and remind me of this next year when I’m tackling the mountain of unwrapped gifts.