Category: Books

How to inventory your library without feeling overwhelmed

used book store

Jake and I have spent many dates wandering up and down aisles of used book stores. We’d often purchase a few, and then read each other the summaries and chapter titles on the way home. Super booknerd love.

Needless to say, soon after we married, we had our first very serious problem on our hands.

How do we fit 2 home libraries into 1?

Our first solution was making one of the bedrooms in our duplex a library. It was one of my favorite rooms.

Before we moved to Kenya, we sold most of our stuff, but NOT OUR BOOKS. Solution #2: We packed them into boxes and stored all 1500+ our parents’ houses. They totally loved that.  (more…)

10 Gift Ideas for the Book Lover in Your Life

It’s National Library Week and what better way to celebrate than by visiting your local library and checking out a good book?

If you’re a book nerd and want to go above and beyond your usual weekly visit to the local library, perhaps you want to buy a little book-themed gift for a librarian or a library patron that you love.

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay 

Jake and I like to visit public libraries while on vacation, especially when we’re in a big city. Last year when Jake and I went to Chicago, we visited a public library in the heart of downtown and it was one of the highlights of our trip. This book is like that, but x10. 🙂 (more…)

The Family Reading List {February 2017}

Family Reading List (february) (1)

Oh, y’all. We have had a good month of reading. Our bookshelves are oozing with a curation of interesting books, magazines, and graphic novels. Here are some of our faves.

Anaya’s Reading List (3.5 years old)

The Saddest Toilet in the World

Sam Apple

Although Anaya has been potty-trained for a LONG TIME, she adores books about potty-training. Probably because bodily functions are hilarious. She thrives on pushing the envelope of decency and humor. I will not surprised if she ends up being a stand-up comedian.

A quick synopsis goes like this: Kid doesn’t want to sit on the toilet, toilet gets sad and leaves home, boy misses toilet and family searches the city to find it. Preschoolers will love it. Parents can tolerate it.

Others to try out:

Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship
Daniel Tiger: Nighttime in the Neighborhood
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings


The Family Reading List {January 2017}


Welcome to the first Family Reading List of 2017!

Winter weather has us staying indoors, so we’ve had more time to explore the bookshelf. Each month I’ll share with you some of the books that the kids have been enjoying.

Anaya’s Reading List (3.5 years old)

Little Big Girl

Claire Keane

Anaya desperately wants a little brother or sister. Since this isn’t going to happen (sorry little lady!), she self-medicates with reading about having younger siblings. Little Big Girl is about a girl who is little, but loves to have BIG adventures. When a younger brother comes along, Matisse discovers that maybe she’s actually.. big!

This book is super sweet, and is perfect for a little sibling with an even littler sibling on the way :).


Others to try out:

I am too absolutely small for school
Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color



The Family Reading List {Summer 2016}

The Family Reading List

Welcome to the Family Reading List!

Each month I’ll be sharing a list of recommended books for kids. This carefully curated list will come straight from our bookshelves and will answer the question I get asked all the time- What are my kids reading and loving? I’ll not only feature one book from each kid’s list per month, but I’ll also give a short list of other books we highly recommend. Some of these books will be ones the kids read on their own. Others will be ones we listen to in the car or read aloud at night before bed.

I’m circling the kids into this series of fun monthly posts, and they’re already excited about sharing their recommendations. Who knows, they may even show up in some video recommendations in the future!

And of course, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments! We often find our next books to read through the recommendations of other families.


A Bible Project I’m Incredibly Excited About

Jake and I spent just 7 short months living in Nairobi, Kenya, but the land and the friends we made still hold a special place in our heart. Jake and I went to East Africa as learners. We wanted to get to know the people, the culture, and learn what it looked like to follow Jesus in their culture. While we had ideas of eventually living in East Africa long-term, we knew we needed to come and learn first.

We came to this conclusion about following Jesus in East Africa: It looks the same as here in the mid-west. And it looks different.

When we lived in Nairobi, I loved going to the bookstore on campus and finding books that I was familiar with – C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright. But after I was there a bit longer, I began to realize that there was a lot more Western influence in that bookstore than African. I started asking questions.

These conversations resulted in mixed feelings for me. While I was so glad that they had great material by people I really enjoy, I was also sad that there was so much western influence — how much of this influence is for the good and how much is for the bad? (more…)

What We’re Reading (April 2016)

WhatWE're Reading

As we head into spring, our book lists continue to grow. Warm weather doesn’t mean less reading, it just means reading in different places (i.e. on a blanket on the sideline of a soccer game or under a big shady tree!)  Here’s what we’re reading this month!

My Reading List

The Sin of Uncertainty

Peter Enns

In his new book, Peter Enns explores what goes wrong when our need to “know the right things” is placed in the center of our faith experience, and he encourages readers to consider that the pursuit of right doctrine and right views might be distracting them from the very person they are supposed to be trusting in. I’m over halfway through and this book is excellent, written in Peter’s typical thoughtful, clever, and down to earth way. I’ll be writing a full review on this by the end of the month, so stay tuned!




God’s Justice {A Bible Review}

Last year Jake and I attended the Justice Conference in Chicago for our 10 year wedding anniversary. This is where I first learned about this justice-oriented, soon-to-be released study Bible, God’s Justice: The Flourishing of Creation and the Destruction of Evil.

God's Justice Bible review

This NIV (2011) study Bible was written by an international team of scholars (headed up by  Tim Stafford, Senior Writer for Christianity Today) that aims to help readers to recognize the theme of God’s justice woven throughout the entire Bible. Each book starts with an introduction, and study notes are provided throughout each book, adding a scholar’s commentary surrounding the various justice themes.

The contributors to this study Bible care about helping readers understand that each part of the Scriptures is written differently and hence needs to be read and studied differently. First Samuel should be read in a different way than Isaiah or Revelation. While many of us love the Scriptures and desire to read and respond to the Scriptures faithfully, most of us aren’t equipped with the necessary tools we need to read without unknowingly misunderstanding or distorting the text. (more…)

What We’re Reading (February 2016)

What We're Reading

For the past few months, I’ve been using this post each month to talk about what the kids are reading individually and what (if anything) we’re reading together. Because I’m no longer at home during the day, I have less of a pulse on all the books the kids are totally loving. I get to read with them the best of the best, so I’ll still share those here :).

I also decided to add my own books this month! As always, let me know what books you and your family are loving– we love recommendations.

My Reading List

betweentheworldandmeBetween the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book should be required reading for all of us that “believe ourselves to be white” (if you want to know what that means, read the book ;)). Coates writes a letter to his son, sharing his experiences as a black man growing up in America. It’s both sobering and interesting. I learned a lot; I need to be reminded of his experience on a regular basis because it is very much not my daily life. I loved his thoughts about how the idea of race is more fabricated than most of us think.