Behind the Blog {Sept. 2012}

Books I’ve Read…

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Woman’s “Work” by Kathleen Norris

I read this book based on recommendations from Sarah Bessey. I have to say it wasn’t quite what I expected, meaning she didn’t write about the everyday in oversimplified terms, but the book read more like a memoir with great insight in many areas of life. I enjoyed her writing style and will definitely be reading more of her books. 

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Ann Lamott

So I, like so many writers, have fallen in love with Ann Lamott. I finished her book Bird by Bird this summer, and this book was an excellent next read. As a “good” girl who grew up in church, I love to read how different people come to faith in Christ, and her story is simply beautiful. And I love how she found God in a little “nobody” church, which goes to prove that the leading and presence of the Holy Spirit is far more effective in bringing the lost to Christ than any fancy church marketing strategies or trendy programming. 

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

Shauna Niequist has quickly become one of my favorite writers. This book along with her first will be read over and over by me as I find encouragement, insight and wisdom in her reflections of finding God in the midst of everyday life. She is truly a gifted writer.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam McHugh

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. The beginning was amazing and I was highlighting everything and recommending it to everyone. But then I got really bored with it toward the middle and had to force myself to read a little each day to finish it. I will say it did pick up in the end. 

Shows I’ve watched…

I have to say that I have not watched any television since May when the season of New Girl ended. I can’t wait to watch the season premiere on Tuesday when it is available online. Also, I am so excited that Kristen over at Rage Against the Minivan shared with all of us Downton Abbey fans that there is a legal way to watch the current season online instead of having to wait until January when it airs in the United States. The timing could not have been more perfect because…

Trips and Travels…

Phillip and I took a little two night getaway to Asheville, NC to visit the Biltmore House, which is ridiculously similar to the Downton estate. This is our second time to Asheville this year. It is such an easy drive and we stay at the Lifeway Conference Center at a wonderful rate that they give to pastors. West Asheville is such a funky place and we love checking out of the shops, art galleries, and amazing food. Our two favorite finds this trip was a little dessert bar called French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Their chocolate dipped ginger cookies were so good! Also, we had the best brunch at a little place called Tupelo Honey, known for their delicious sweet potato pancakes. Their homemade biscuits, namesake honey, and fresh blueberry jam were equally amazing. I can’t wait to go back!

Learning at Home…

Our learning at home has been going so well. After two years of reading and stressing about different early childhood education philosophies, I finally figured out how to pull what I liked best about each one and create an eclectic curriculum of sorts that works for us. We begin each day with an hour or so of outdoor play. Most days it is simply free play, but once or twice a week, I will lead them on a nature activity or give them some materials to create with. After outdoor play, we have circle time. And thanks to this lovely fall weather, we have been having circle time on a blanket outside this week. During circle time we always talk about the weather, the calendar, and sing fun songs. One day is focused on Bible, one on Character/Values, one on nature, and one free day where we have talked about geography, classical music, or read fairy tales. After circle time, Emma goes off to work with her mom on math and reading, I give Aidan a puzzle or learning activity to keep him busy, and I work with Jack and Abby on numbers, letters, and writing using fun, hands-on learning activities. After lunch, I let each of the kids pick a book and I read to them out on the porch. Some afternoons we will also do an art project or set up a new dramatic play center. And sometimes they just play. And that’s our day. It is simple and fun, and everyone is growing in knowledge and in creativity.

Looking ahead…

We have a busy month ahead of us. I hope to take the kids to the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch. We have our annual fall student retreat weekend. We are also going on our first real family vacation to Florida! And I am supposed to be running a half-marathon. I haven’t officially signed up for it yet, because I am cheap and I just haven’t felt like paying the $65 just yet. But I am training on schedule and will be running 11 miles on Saturday. Thankfully, I have discovered and am listening to a great book during my runs to keep me from getting bored.

Also, I might be participating in The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge, where you write on one subject everyday for the 31 days of October. I have a topic picked out, but I am nervous to commit to writing 31 days straight with the busy October we have planned. I’m still up in the air about it, but if I decide to participate, I will let you know my topic tomorrow.

I hope you have had a great September, and are looking forward to an even better October.




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  1. So glad you read it! That book saved me life a time or two.

    • Amanda Medlin says:

      I came across The Cloister Walk at a used bookstore while I was in NC, and I could kick myself now for not buying it. I wasn’t sure if it was one of the ones you had also recommended, but later when I referenced your top 10’s, there it was. Still can’t believe I passed it up!

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