Adventures with Jesus…and Peter Pan

On Monday morning, I prayed that God would give me an adventure.

I asked Him to show me who I could talk to that day, or how I might see an opportunity to connect with somebody, or bless someone close to me. As I prayed, the thought came to me that since I was taking Anika to her theatre class at the Forks, I would have the chance to meet all kinds of interesting people. There are always parents sitting around, waiting for a whole hour while their kids are in class. Surely there would be someone there just waiting for some kind of awesome conversation.

I was happily anticipating it.

So, we drove off to the Forks, Anika ran off to her class, and I sat down to wait with Kaylia in a large, open area where a number of other parents had already gotten settled. Everyone was kind of busy, so I started reading to Kaylia, quite confident that before too long, something special would happen.

Kaylia is obsessed with Peter Pan these days.

Peter Pan

I found a used copy of a kids’ chapter book version of the story, and we’ve been reading and rereading it every single day for a week, so this was her obvious choice of reading material that day during Anika’s class.

As I sat there reading, the most unusual thing began to happen – I began to collect children.

Little boys wandered over, and snuggled in close to hear the story. A baby toddled over to me, dragging her mom’s water bottle behind her, and beamed every time I paid attention to her. Kids’ moms came over to watch how intently their kids were listening to the story, expressing their amazement that these active little boys could sit so still for a chapter book.

Sadly…it was Peter Pan, with many details about pirates, and plenty of politically incorrect references to “Indians”. It’s not like it was an uplifting story in any way.

And I never got my inspiring conversation with any of the moms there.

But as the baby with the water bottle gave me a huge, toothy grin, and a boy with incredibly curly hair leaned against me as if he’d known me his whole life, it suddenly became clear to me: This was the moment of blessing – for them and for me!

I may never see those children again, but I had the opportunity to give them my time and attention. I spread a little love that morning. It didn’t look the way I expected it to, and yet I felt a strong sense that these little children needed as much love as any adult, and are no less important because they are presently smaller in size. And I remembered all over again that sometimes, we love others by loving their children.

So I never did anything huge or inspiring, and Jesus is never mentioned in the story of Peter Pan, but I felt like I had the little adventure I’d prayed for that morning. Kaylia beamed with pleasure at her new “friends” enjoying the story with her, and as she snuggled against me on one side, and a little boy leaned in for a better view of Captain Hook’s picture, I decided that unexpected adventures are the best kind of all.;)

May you enjoy your Wednesday,and experience an adventure or two, as well!

What I’ll Be Reading

So excited – I was able to order a few books today with some gift cards, and I can’t wait for them to come!

Zero Waste Home jacketZero Waste Home – Oh, this will be a fun one! I’ve been following Bea Johnson’s blog, and I love the photos of her home. It is spotless. And very white. I don’t think I’d actually like to live in it, but I find it very inspiring.

She takes the idea of controlling clutter to a whole new level – just don’t get clutter in the first place. She doesn’t have to spend much time purging, because they don’t own a lot of stuff to begin with, and they stop the clutter from ever entering their home. She says it frees up a lot of time and money, which I totally believe.

focus-on-food-photography-for-bloggersFood Photography for Bloggers – I feel the silliest about this one, but Ben says he won’t tease me too much for ordering it! I’m not a food blogger, obviously, but for some reason, I just love taking pictures of food. I think food is colorful and beautiful, and I’ve always loved arranging it in artistic ways, so photographing it joins all my loves together.

The photos I’ve seen online from this book are unbelievable, so I’m extremely curious to get it and spend more time looking and learning.

Kisses from KatieKisses From Katie – If you haven’t heard of this story, you should most definitely watch this video about Katie Davis. SO inspiring, I’m actually nervous to read the book. I’m not sure I’m ready to be as convicted and changed as what I’m expecting to be. You may suddenly read that we’ve sold our house and are starting an orphanage in Africa, or something!

What are you reading this summer?

What We’re Reading

We are a reading family.


This became clear to me, once again, when I looked over our Christmas gifts, and saw that between the four of us, we received 18 books, and were extremely excited about each and every one of them.

In addition to this, the highlight of the week is going to the church library, and finding even more books to read.

In case there’s another family out there in need of some good reading suggestions, I thought I’d do another book post to share our recent favorites, seeing as it’s been awhile since my last one.

Here are my most enjoyed reads:

1. Undaunted, by Christine Caine. I love listening to her speak, and since her new book is about getting past our fears and embracing the opportunities God sends our way, Ben thought I’d enjoy it, so he got it for me for Christmas. I’m not quite done it, but I’ve enjoyed it. Very challenging.

2. Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne. Friends of ours told us about this book a year ago, and it’s been on my “Wish List” ever since. I’ve read it once, but I think I need to read it a few more times! SOOOO challenging, with many, many fantastic, practical suggestions for how to clear the clutter from our children’s lives, including toys, schedules, choices, and media, just to name a few. LOVED it. I think every parent should read it.

3. A Family of Value, by John Rosemond. I was given this book as a gift when Anika was a baby, and when I started reading it at the time, it seemed like our family wasn’t at the right stage for it. I started reading it when I was down with the flu this Christmas, and am so sorry I waited so long! He has such a down-to-earth approach to family, and I love his ideas on how to teach children what he considers the three most important things: respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness. We will be making some changes in our family…:)

4. Love Does, by Bob Goff. Loved it. I can’t even sum this one up. I wrote about it last week, and I think I’ll be doing another post or two on this one.

And on my packing list for our upcoming vacation, I’ve got: Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Makes You Free, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil, In His Steps, One Thing at a Time: 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Everyday, and The Power of Now.

Ben says he’s read so many books in the last year as he finished up his Masters that he can’t remember what he’s read. He did say he enjoyed  Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, as well as Love Does, which was the book I bought him for Christmas

Anika tends to get a little hooked on certain books for a stretch of time. Since Ben first read The Hobbit to her, she’s reread it on her own about five or six times. They have started The Lord of the Rings, which she loves, but her dreams at night have gotten a little intense, and we’re wondering if it might be a little scary for her, so Ben’s skipping the really intense parts, and giving her a summary.:)

Her other favorites are Mandie books, as well as Canadian Girl and Teddy Jo books.

I just came across this reading list on Pinterest, which looks fantastic, so I think we’ll start working our way through it.


Kaylia completely loves Brambly Hedge, which is so much fun to read, and is beautifully illustrated. She is also going strong with Little House in the Big Woods, either the chapter book, or the illustrated version for younger kids.

And that’s what we’re reading! Any great suggestions out there? I’d love to hear them!

What I’m Reading

I love reading blogs.

Some people think it’s a waste of time, or an evil that must be avoided, but I see it as a way to learn and grow, to feed my craving for beautiful images and wise words. It is tricky to keep it balanced, but I’m willing to participate in that struggle (at this point!) because of the good stuff I find.

I always appreciate the weekend links provided by Holy Experience and Simple Mom to point me in the direction of good posts without having to do all the searching myself.

So, in an effort to pass on the favor, here are some articles I’ve been enjoying recently:

Pinterest, Mindfulness, and Making the Most of It (Becoming Minimalist) – Pinterest is another fantastic resource that needs to be wrestled down into orderly balance. I love it, but it can easily be a time waster. I loved this post on how to use it wisely.

How to Know if You’re a Controlling Person (Donald Miller) – I love the pillow analogy! How many times have I tried to figure out what and why someone else is thinking??

On Surviving the Crush of the Morning Rush (The Gypsy Mama) – I’m thinking I’d like to memorize this whole post, so I’ll remember it on those crazy mornings!!

5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day (Michael Hyatt) – Finally! My daily naps are fully justified!

A Slow-Books Manifesto – I’m starting Pride and Prejudice as soon as we’ve moved and unpacked our boxes!

You Are What You Read??

During a job interview, Ben was once asked what books he was reading.

I like that question. I think that what (or if?) a person is reading can truly say a lot. It can be a reflection of your tastes and interests, passions, beliefs, values, communication style, etc, etc.

For example. If I told you that I only read poetry, you would probably have some kind of an idea in your head about what kind of person I am.

But I don’t only read poetry. I don’t read poetry ever. Now you probably have a very different idea of what I’m like.

I wish I read poetry. And that also says something about me!

Anyway. I thought that it would be fun to share with you what we’ve been reading around here. All four of us LOVE books. Fun for the whole family. We’ve been enjoying some especially good ones, lately.

We’ll start with my books (other than “The Happiness Project”, because I’ve mentioned that one numerous times already!):

1. Simple Blogging

This one is actually an e-book. I’m finding that a little weird. I like a book I can relax on the couch with. Other than that, it’s a great book for anyone who’s really interested in blogging. I picked up some great tips from it and have a list of things I want to try after reading it.

2. Eve’s Daughters

Oh, my goodness, this is such a great book. I just finished it (again) yesterday afternoon. I have no idea how many times I’ve read it before – too many to count. But the ending still made me cry. I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, because I don’t have enough self-control to read it in small chunks. But when I do read fiction, I really like Lynn Austin’s stuff. And this book is one of her best. But that’s just my opinion – I borrowed it to a friend, and she didn’t like it at all. So there you go.

3. There’s Lead in Your Lipstick

Just started this one, so I don’t know how good it will be, but it’s on one of my favorite topics these days. For the last few years, I’ve been on the look-out for natural, healthy options for products to use in house cleaning, as well as personal care. I’m good friends with Norwex. I don’t use any chemicals when cleaning the house, but my next hurdle is hair dye, sun screen, and shampoo, to name a few. We’ll see what I learn from this book. It promises to recommend “the best alternative products and where you can find them.” Yes, please!

4. My Utmost For His Highest

I think I will read this book forever. It has a one-page reading for every day of the year, and I just keep going through it again and again. Always challenging and enlightening.

5. So Long, Insecurity

I am loving this book. It is so good. I’m sure it will be inspiring an entire post soon, because I’ve been learning so much from it. Beth Moore is always good, but this book is just really hitting the spot right now.

It is very typical for me to have at least five or six books on the go. I have different reading moods. Sometimes I want “relaxing” reading, sometimes I feel more ambitious. My bedside table usually has a huge stack of books on it.

Ben’s Books:

1. Strategy Bites Back

This is one of the books that Ben has to read for his next course. He says that it “has moments of interest”.

2. The Bourne Objective

Ben kind of devours fiction. He reads almost anything he can get his hands on. When I asked him what he thought of this book, his response was not very enthusiastic. He said that so far, it has not been very good – “Surprisingly disappointing.”

Anika’s Books

When she reads by herself, she most often reads my old Mandie books. She loves them, which I think is cute, except for the fact that Mandie stomps her foot when she gets mad, so Anika started doing that, too. We had to confiscate the Mandie books until she stopped! Now she reads them peacefully, no foot stomping.

Books we’re reading together:

1. Indian in the Cupboard was amazing. Completely amazing. I have never cried while reading a book to Anika, but this time I did. My voice got all quivery, but she didn’t seem to notice. The ending is just so beautiful. Every kid should read it. And if you didn’t read it as a kid, read it now.

2. Grandma’s Attic is the series that we’re in the middle of – another one from my childhood that I always loved. Such great, fun, wholesome stories. Anika’s learning tons without even knowing it. And I’ve forgotten lots of the stories since reading them as a kid, so it’s fun to read them again.

Kaylia’s Books

1. Anything that has to do with Dora, Curious George, or Strawberry Shortcake.

2. NIrV Story Bible for Children, any of the Bible stories involving babies are her favorites, with Baby Moses and Baby Jesus being at the top of her list.

Whew. That’s kind of a long list.

How about you? What are you reading right now?


Now that camp is over, we’re enjoying a little bit of family time. Yesterday, we actually ate a meal together as a family, in our own home. Hasn’t happened since…June. And then while I cleaned up from supper, the rest of the family enjoyed some books.