Books 2014

In 2009 I read 16 books, in 2010 I don’t think I kept track, in 2011 I read 22 books, in 2012 I read 27, and in 2013 I read 32.  In 2014…I read…drum roll please…41!  Here they are…


  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klinel
  2. Wonder by Al Palacio
  3. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
  4. The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
  5.  Moloka’I by Alan Brennert
  6. Barcelona Calling by Jane Kirkpatrick
  7. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
  9. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  10. Breaking Rules by Tracie Puckett
  11. PIE by Sarah Weeks 


  1. Shattered Dreams:  My Life As An Polygamist Wife by Irene Spencer
  2. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  3. I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks
  4. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller
  5. Wild:  From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  6. The Other Side of the River by Alex Kotlowitz
  7. Lost Boy by Brent W Jeffs
  8. Better Together:  Restoring the American Community by Robert D Putman
  9. Answering 911:  Life in the Hot Seat by Caroline Burau
  10. The End of the Suburbs:  Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher
  11.  Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt
  12. My Story by Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart
  13. Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time by Brigid Schulte
  14. My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
  15. Life Is A Wheel by Bruce Weber
  16. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
  17. Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp
  18. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
  19. The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality by Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche
  20. Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin
  21. Naked and Unashamed by Rob Toornstra
  22. Maxed Out by Katrina Alcorn
  23. Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar
  24. Hope Against Hope by Sarah Carr
  25. Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
  26. Stopping Stress Before It Stops You by Kevin Leman
  27. The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge
  28. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  29. It’s Complicated by Danah Boyd
  30. All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

First of all the best book I had the honor of reading this year was written by my husband.  He spent many evenings going across the street to the coffee shop after the kids went to bed to write. He solicited editing help from our friends and my brother.  He learned with writing that there are many “no’s” before a “yes.” His book “Naked and Ashamed” began long before we were married when he had to write about the Calvinist perspective on sexuality in our Calvinism class in college.  I encourage you to check his book out.  It’s available on Amazon and in the Kindle edition.

And once again I read way more non-fiction than fiction.  Some of this due to a writing project of my own I took on that may or may not amount to much more beyond this blog.

My second favorite book was Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time.  This book shook up my world for a couple weeks and caused me to take a good hard look at my schedule and life goals.  I daresay God used this book to help me this school year. I have been able to manage my time better and keep my commitments at a manageable level.

Some others I recommend:  Breaking Rules is a YA fiction, and I could not put it down.  The writing was good and the characters come to life.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I know some memoirs by people in the news or Hollywood stars are poorly written.  The whole time you read it you are thinking–“How did they get a book deal?”  My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart is very good–heartbreaking at times.  You get a picture of what actually happened to her and her strength to overcome the trauma she faced.

I also recommend A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres.  It is the untold stories of the Jonestown Massacre and people of “The People’s Temple” cult of the late 1970’s.  This all took place when I was an infant so I never followed it in the news.  I have always been fascinated by the control cults have over ordinary people.  The author is originally from the same hometown and church as me (Lafayette, Indiana).

If you want other recommendations, let me know.  I am always up for book suggestions too!

December 24: Tuba Holiday

IMG_2250For the past few Christmas Eves, I wanted to go to the local concert band’s tuba concert.  No one has ever been overly excited to join me.  Christmas Eve is also a long work day for my husband as we have services the following morning.  But I was able to swing it this year and take the youngest along.  We had a great time together.  I have always loved the tuba as an instrument and seeing so many together in one place playing Christmas music was amazing.IMG_2255

December 23: Children’s Museum


Yesterday was the second day in a row I had six kids from 9:30 to 4:30–all the school aged kids on Christmas.  We got a museum membership as an early Christmas present…which is a wonderful gift for families.  The hands on learning and discovery is not something I can always provide at home…plus I am more inclined to get them out of the house if I can.  We went to our local children’s museum and spent the morning playing, learning, and discovering.  It is crazy with six kids ages 19 months through 9.  We did have to go over “sharing” and “taking turns” a couple times and take multiple trips to the drinking fountain and bathroom.  We went home and had a late lunch, did some crafts, and played outside.  By 4 PM most of us were crabby and worn out–but thankful for a great day together.

December 21: Kids in Worship

1-2014-12-22I love our church’s Christmas program.  Actually it is not a program at all.  The children help lead part of the service and help the congregation understand the meaning of the Advent season.  They do this readings, songs, and symbols.  It is a beautiful thing.  I loved watching my three kids be worship leaders with their Sunday school friends.

December 20: I still love running

IMG_2201I always wanted to do a Christmas long distance run.  December runs in Oregon = unpredictable.  Two years ago my daughter and I did a 5K and dealt with sleet, snow, cold rain, and mud.   I thought she would quit running all together after that race, but thankfully her next race was in July which was better.

I did the Eugene Holiday Half.  It rained the entire time.  There were flood warnings out.  We almost thought the race would be cancelled.  Although I was soaked head to toe, I managed to run 8.47/minute miles and finish at around 1:55 and place 5th in my age category.  Although it took hours for my body temperature to get fully back to normal, I was so glad I did it.  It is my first half marathon!

I have done three marathons and two 25ks (15.5 miles) but never a half.  I liked the distance!