adult books, recommendations, Uncategorized

Fish in a Tree- book review


One of the perks of working in a library is that I see a LOT of books that I would otherwise miss. When Fish in a Tree was turned in, the title caught my eye. I read the back cover and immediately placed a hold for it– since the copy that was turned in was going elsewhere.

Fish in a Tree is a YA (young adult) novel about a girl named Ally Nickerson. She doesn’t know how to read, and knows that she is different from other kids her age. She has always acted out and been able to hide her struggles from everyone- her teachers, mom, brother, etc.

Ally is a lonely kid without friends. She feels like she is dumb and will never be able to do anything like anyone else and really hates being different. She loves drawing and has a book called “The sketchbook of Impossible Things” that she draws in daily.

When Ally’s teacher goes on maternity leave, she ends up with a substitute teacher. Mr. Daniels changes her life. He observes all of the students in her class in a completely different way. He catches on to Ally and her struggles. He instructs everyone to write in a notebook daily. He says that he won’t grade it at all or correct their spelling errors. He will just write back.

Through his observations, he notices something important about Ally. He invites her to play chess after school. After a few after school meetings with Ally, he tells her that he thinks he knows why she can’t read. He tells her that he thinks she has dyslexia. He helps her learn to read by using many tricks that are helpful for those who have dyslexia.

Ally realizes how much SHE has changed. She has made friends with other kids who are different. She is happy. The whole class sees her through different eyes, and so does Ally. She realizes how smart and talented she is. She also realizes that all kids have their struggles and that she was never alone in them.Labels no longer matter, and for the first time ever Ally is truly happy. She also realizes that she can no longer draw many things in her sketchbook, because nothing is IMpossible.

This is such a great read. I wanted to read it so that I could see what life may be like through my daughter’s eyes. I was brought to tears on many occasions because I realized how hard things must be for her. It was eye opening and also incredibly inspiring. Just knowing how much harder my daughter has to work than most kids to read– and that she is willing to FIGHT to learn it– is incredible.

I can’t recommend this book enough; especially if you have a child with dyslexia or that is differently abled.


(Reading guides show in photo.)

adult books, recommendations, Uncategorized

Book Review- Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis is probably the most relatable insta-famouse person. She gets frequent blow-outs and gets to go to the Oscars, but she also admits to peeing her pants. She feels like she could be my way-more-glamorous best friend. But, not the kind of friend that makes you feel inferior. She is just so real and hilarious.  If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you should.

When she announced that she was writing a book, I knew I had to get on it right away. I pre-ordered Girl, Wash Your Face.. and waited. I honestly didn’t fully know what to expect. I just know that I like Rachel, and she always inspires me.

I did not expect to get slapped upside the head with so many good things. The premise of this book is that Rachel breaks down 20 lies that she used to tell herself. These are lies that most women tend to believe in one way or another. She shares how she overcame these lies and has become the inspiring woman she is today. She shares the gritty and uncomfortable. She makes you laugh. She makes you cry. She makes you feel like a fire has been lit under your rear end.

“if you’re unhappy, that’s on you.”

Ouch, girl. That hurts.

How often do we spend in our lives saying “I’ll be happy when..”

If you aren’t happy now, you sure aren’t going to be happy when you lose 15 pounds, or meet the man of your dreams, or land your dream job. Your happiness is ultimately up to you.

My happiness is ultimately up to me. I always feel like I can’t get comfortable and happy because my life could be uprooted at any time.  It gets uprooted constantly. Then, what? I have to leave all that happiness behind to become miserable and start chasing happiness all over again. So, what have I done? I’ve allowed myself to just stay in this miserable mindset because it is so much easier than being happy to have a sudden shift again.  I don’t allow myself to get excited about things, because they could, and probably will change.

“Sit down and decide what’s really important to you. Not what’s important to your mother-in-law or your girlfriends… Decide what’s really important to you.”

This. Is. Key.

If I listened to what everyone else said, there are so many things that I would be doing differently. There are also times that I did listen to others, and regretted it.

You want to know my biggest regret? Changing my major from interior design after only a semester. I changed it because I worried what people would think. “That’s not a real career and I could never make it.” I LOVED my design classes. For the first time in college, I was having fun. I was super intimidated to be in classes with all of these ultra cool men and women. But, it was so fun. I let what I thought people would think change it all. Don’t let what other people think define what you do.

These were two of my biggest takeaways from the book. Almost every chapter resonated with me in some way. There is a chapter where she talks about how she reached a point of saying “I NEED a glass of wine”. I don’t drink, but I just replaced that with any other crutch I use in my life. I need to feel like I belong, so I’m going to go waste too much time on social media. *eye rolls all around*

I read this book much more slowly than the others I have read this year. I knew I needed to slow down and soak in what I was reading.

I guess what I am saying is, you need to pick up what Rachel is laying down. It doesn’t matter if you are married or single, a mom, never want to have babies..whatever. You need this message. You need a kick in the pants to know that you are enough. You are worthy. You CAN do hard things.


adult books, Uncategorized

Life is Meant to be Lived

GWYF quote


I am not even halfway through this book, and my mind is already blown over and over again. I have been underlining and highlighting huge sections. Rachel wrote this book directly to me. I’m sure of it.

Actually, she wrote it for all of us. A powerful message that women need to hear. But, I’m not here to do a book review. I’m here to share something that I learned this weekend.

I’ll give you a little back story. I am a people pleaser. If someone asks me to do something, I say yes. I say yes even if everything within me is weeping over how badly I DON’T want to do the thing. I say yes even when I want to scream NO! I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I have always been this way. I lent out pencils and pens and so much of my own stuff in high school that my mom always had to buy new stuff for me. I have loaned out so many books without them being returned. I know who I lent each book to, because my memory just works that way.  I was always excited to hear what people thought of the book. Do I confront them and ask for my books back? Nope. I’d hate to offend anyone. Someone borrowed my blow drier and kept it! Dresses, swimsuits.. you name it. It’s out there with some other person. Maybe. Maybe they just truly don’t care and got rid of MY things.

I make myself miserable by always doing what others want. MISERABLE.

I am an introvert by nature. I’m  not miserable because I am an introvert. I get miserable because people seem to think they need to FIX me, and pull me into uncomfortable situations. I do not get a thrill out of being around tons of people. I get completely exhausted and overwhelmed. I get panicked. But, that is unacceptable to so many people, so I say yes to going places when I don’t want to. I don’t enjoy it. Craft shows? I’m there. I love that. But, most of the time. Nope. Please stop.  I get filled up by reading a book, taking a walk alone, laying in the sunshine doing nothing.

I say yes to helping with things that I don’t really love doing, which only takes away from the little time I have to do the things that I do love. I love helping people. That is my nature. I love cooking a meal for someone who is sick or just had a baby. I love to drop off little gifts for people. I love helping organize and clean things up. I love that.

The things that you love are probably different from mine. Who loves to help people clean? ha! God made us that way. It allows us to function a whole lot better as a “family” when everyone has different strengths.

How many of you say yes to things that you DON’T WANT TO SAY YES TO. I’m sure almost all of you thought “yep, sure do”. WHY?! Why do we do this to ourselves?

I have told Scott so  many times that I feel like we aren’t even LIVING our life. We are just surviving day to day. Then, I read Rachel’s quote above, and I about fell over. You mean, I’m not the only one feeling this way?

Yes, there are responsibilities. Jobs have to be worked to pay the bills. I have to do loads upon loads of laundry so that my  family doesn’t go around naked. I spend most of the day teaching my children. (I homeschool, if you didn’t know that.) Then, I spend the rest of the day cleaning up the disasters that Harper as created and doing all of the household things that a stay-at-home mom does. I’m exhausted. (I know that working moms are just as exhausted, I just don’t have the experience to speak on it.) Then, throw in all of the things that I say yes to when I don’t want to. I have NO time to do anything that fills me up. I have been trying to pour from an empty vessel for so long.

No. More. I will not say yes when I don’t want to say yes. I will not continue to do “extra” things that just further drain me.

I said no to someone today. I planned on writing about this before this situation ever came up.  I think it was really God challenging me to see if I was actually going to go through with the commitment I am making to myself– to my family. I said no, and immediately after sending my response I felt sick. I HATE disappointing people. But, do you know what saying yes would have meant? It would have meant that I would exhaust myself. I would drain myself even more. I would feel a sense of dread every day until that commitment came and went.

This isn’t all about me. Do you know what a drained wife and mother become? They become bitter and cranky. They take out their frustration on their families. They become miserable to be around. My husband and my kids deserve to get the best version of me. My marriage is my first priority under my relationship with Jesus. My children ARE my ministry. Those things all have to come first, for all of us.

We need to stop glorifying busy. It’s like we get bragging rights if we have the most loaded schedule. We are doing it to our kids, too. Running them from activity to activity. Robbing them of their childhood, and robing you of precious time watching them grow. I will not fall into this trap. I’m not saying that all activities are bad, so don’t start casting stones. I loved having Chloe in dance class, and want to be in a place where we can do that again for our girls. This season of rest has bee nice though.

I am challenging you to look at your life. Are you just surviving? Is your family just getting the leftovers of you? We have to stop this. We cannot continue to watch our society and families falling apart and wonder what went wrong. If we want to make any progress, we have to make big changes.

It’s not easy. Nothing worth having is easy. If it is worth it to you, you are going to find a way. You will find a way to make it happen.

Do one thing today that makes you feel like you are LIVING.


adult books, recommendations, Uncategorized

Book Review- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I have deviated from my initial list of 10 books I’ll read in 2018. We took a trip to the Library.. That’s really all that needs said. I read a book for this blind date thing the library is doing. They wrapped up several books in kraft paper, and put a little note on the front with a short synopsis of the story. If you read and review a book, you are entered to win a prize. I got this book. It was really good, but not something I’d typically read.

I also saw that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was finally in stock, so I snatched it up. Janssen has recommended it a lot. I mean A LOT. She loves it, and she has never once steered me wrong before. Here is her review.

This book is Young Adult fiction. What I love about young adult chick lit is that it’s typically not trashy. I’m not a fan of romance novels. I’m not a fan of books that make me feel like I need to take a hot shower after to wash away the filth. Just HEARING about 50 shades makes me want to take a shower and cry for anyone who thinks that is romance.

Lara Jean is a teenager whose mother passed away when she was young. She has two sisters, and is the middle child. Her older sister, Margot, goes off to college, which leaves her “in charge” of many of the motherly duties.

She has written letters to every boy she has ever loved over the course of time. They are essentially goodbye letters when she no longer loves them. One day, her letters are mysteriously mailed out to these boys. It makes her life a whole lot more interesting as the boys who receive these letters confront her. Some reveal that they liked her also. Some still do.

I don’t want to give away a lot of the story, because that is where the fun is.

I know a lot of people roll their eyes at teen love stories. Me? I married my high school sweetheart. I found myself literally smiling through much of the book because it made me think of the time spent dating Scott. Lara Jean’s curfew is 1 AM though, and mine was 10 PM. haha!

This really is a delightful story. I finished reading the book in two days. As soon as Scott got home from work, I went to the library to check out the second in the series. I was seriously disappointed when it was already checked out. I grabbed the third one and read it in less than 24 hours. Now, I wait for my hold on P.S. I Still Love You to come in. Though, I really should just buy them all at some point, because I want to read them over and over again!

If you are looking for a fun read, I cannot recommend this book enough.

A move is currently being made, too!! My image of Margot looking like Sadness from Inside Out is going to be ruined..which will be a good thing!

I have read 5 books so far this year. I just started Girl, Wash your Face today and am ready to be blown away with inspiration.

What are some good books that you have read lately?