Category: Books

Review: Holy is the Day

I wonder if there is a record of how long it takes for a blogger to write a book review after getting a book from the publisher. If there is, I might have broken it.


And the publisher has been oh so kind. They didn’t get onto me. Didn’t hound me. Just chipper emails about how it’s no big deal, and they completely understand. The question is- will they ever let me review a book again? Ha!


Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present is Carolyn Weber’s second book. Her first one is Surprised by Oxford, which I LOVED and reviewed here. Like her first book, Carolyn uses literature, history, and everyday life experiences to share her reflections on God’s work in her life. She opens up this book with a riveting account of the life-altering, game-changing delivery of her two twins. She goes on to talk about life with three kids under 3 (or maybe 4?), as well as her own wrestlings with the many tensions of living the busyness of having a marriage, moving around the country, gaining tenure, and raising kids. While I’m not in academia, Jake is working on it, and we certainly feel some of the same tensions. The book ends with a very brave decision, one that will both surprise and offer a sense of freedom to the reader. Or maybe just to me :).

It’s pretty cool to read about someone’s faith conversion in one book, and then see how God is shaping them in the next one. It’s also interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes while Carolyn was writing Surprised by Oxford, and what affects that had on her career path.

Carolyn is a super smart, highly reflective, deeply caring person. You can read more about her at her blog ( or follow her on FB and Twitter.

A huge thank you to Intervarsity Press for allowing me to review this book in exchange for a free copy. 

**Please note that some of the links are affiliate links.**

Book Review: Girl at the End of the World

I don’t know a whole lot about spiritual abuse. For the most part, I’ve had good church experiences– people who care about God and care about people. Of course, sometimes groups of people got a little bit overzealous and began to act like the law was the point of it all.


It wasn’t until I finished up Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future that I heard a first hand description of life in a spiritually abusive community. Blogger Elizabeth Esther shares her story of growing up in The Assembly, a fundamentalist cult, as well as her journey towards freedom.

Some of her story reminded me of Brother Jed and his rants on the campuses of many colleges across the nation. As I was reading Elizabeth’s story, I had some of his young daughters in my mind. What was it like for them? Did they ever experience these kinds of things too?

Some of her story broke my heart. Okay, a LOT of it broke my heart. There were parts that made me sick to my stomach. I wondered if I should continue reading or just put it down. For that reason, I can’t that I enjoyed the book. It wasn’t particularly fun to read. But, i think it is an important book for Christ-followers to read if they go into it with an attitude of learning and compassion. Some of evangelical’s favorite churches have been exposed recently of some things that look like spiritual abuse. After reading this book, I have a clearer understanding of why knowing and responding in an appropriate yet firm way is important.

Most surprisingly, some of her story kinda reminded me of my experiences or others experiences in the church…. even though I have been a part of “healthy” churches. I think this shows that it is very easy for something to slip into unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving, even if people are trying their best to follow Jesus. Take, for example, a high value for “obedience”. Many Christians I know talk about obedience as being one of the most important virtues in the Christian life. When reading Elizabeth’s story, a high value for obedience turned into mental, physical and spiritual abuse, all in the name of loving God. How do we help protect ourselves and the communities we live in from falling into the same patterns?

On a positive note, her story certainly was engaging, thought-provoking and well-written. I am deeply glad that Elizabeth Esther and her family have gotten out of the Assembly and have found a place of spiritual health. To share all of this takes incredible amounts of courage. In the author’s note, Elizabeth tells us that her goal in writing this memoir is “to shed light on the subtle forms of spiritual and religious abuse…may it sing freedom to captives and healing for those who have been bruised in the name of God.” I think she did an incredible job of doing that.

As a sidenote for some of my more conservative friends, if I would have read her blog first, I probably would not have picked up this book. But, after reading this book, everything that she says on her blog makes much more sense. So before you look at her website, commit to reading her book, regardless, okay? Sometimes I wish that the internet would only let people read each others blogs if they have read their life story first. Wouldn’t that be so much easier? We’d know how their past experiences have shaped who they are today and why they believe what they do. We’d have more compassion for one another, and be able to listen with a more open heart. I think it was surprisingly to see the variety of people who endorsed this book. People like Rachel Held Evans and Kristen Howerton, but ALSO people like Sarah Mae. I wouldn’t have guessed that they would be on the same endorsement page!

This is a book equivalent to the movie, Crash in the way that neither are fun to read/watch, but both give voice to something that needs to be heard. So go download a copy from amazon or but it on hold at your library. You can also find out more about Elizabeth and read a sample chapter over at Convergence books. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Book Review: Sensible Shoes



It has been WAY too long since I’ve read fiction. I always want to read a fiction book, in theory, but I never choose it because there are so many other books that I’m interested in more. But, when one of my friends gave me this book to read, I was intrigued. Sensible Shoes is one of the only fiction books that InterVarsity Press has published. That in itself is intriguing. In my mind, if IVP publishes something, it must be really good- they are a no-fluff kind of publisher.

It was even better than I thought it would be. I read this 343 page book in three days- half of it on my flights between Madison and LA, and then the other half on the way back. It was the perfect travel companion. It was especially useful in helping to distract me from the fact that the airplane felt like a roller coaster on our way from LA to Dallas on the way home.

The real beauty of this book is that it ties together spiritual formation with really good fiction. Four women from different walks of life become unlikely friends during a 6 session spiritual formation retreat.

Hannah, a pastor who doesn’t realize how exhausted she is.

Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past.

Mara, a woman who has bounced from relationship to relationship, trying to navigate a difficult marriage.

Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right.

At the retreat, they are led through several different spiritual formation practices:

  • Walking a labyrinth as a journey of prayer
  • Lectio Divina
  • Praying the Examen
  • Wilderness Prayer
  • Praying with our imagination
  • Self-Examination and Confession
  • Creating a Rule of Life

Not only do we learn about the practices right along with the participants, but then we see how it works out in each of the characters’ lives. We see the wrestling with God, the slow transformation, and the one step forward and two steps back that often marks the process of spiritual transformation.

I went into the book thinking that I would identify with one of the characters more than the others. Surprisingly, I found myself in all of them. The story is beautifully written and easy to get caught up in.

My Takeaways:

‘You can only turn to face God and receive his gifts when you’re convinced that God is love.’ (p. 120)

‘Our areas of resistance and avoidance can provide a wealth of information about our inner life.’ (p. 127)

‘In the examen we ask the Spirit to search us and know us. The Lord invites us to perceive his constant activity in our lives, to notice the things that move us toward God and away from God.’ (p. 182)

“Trusting God’s heart is everything…If I can always trust that God’s intention toward me is love, then even when I don’t understand the work of his hands, I can still trust his heart.’ (p. 241)

The book left me with a much deeper desire to do some soul work and engage intentionally in some of the useful spiritual formation tools laid out here in the text.

I think this would be a great book for a group of women to read together, or to be read within the context of a mentoring relationship.

Book Review: Greater Expectations


Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age by Claire Diaz-Ortiz

What is this book about?

We live in a world that demands a lot of us. Keep Up. Produce. Be informed.

In this FRAME, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, an employee of Twitter and author of Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, shares her ideas on how we can live a sustainable and successful life, enhanced by digital tools (but not overwhelmed by them).

The research isn’t so shocking in this FRAME- we’re overwhelmed and on the edge of burnout.

Americans are so stressed, in fact, that when asked to rank a list of life objectives, the top desire adults expressed is a good night’s rest. This inability to rest is perhaps a side effect of an inability to set boundaries. Four in ten Americans admit they cannot say ‘no’ to additional activities.

The research confirms what we already know about ourselves, our family, our friends, and our co-workers. Too much stuff, too little time. Claire Diaz-Ortiz shares her PRESENT principle to help us find and create margin in our lives. Some of what she shares simply goes back to the basic spiritual disciplines of silence, prayer, study, etc. BUT, she also offers some helpful tips on scheduling, journaling, and tracking our days. Coming from a person whose job IS the internet, she’s a voice that we can trust to give helpful ideas while at the same time not wishing the internet and social media away (which is often the case in books like this).

While this book was helpful, I did find it hard to understand why this one and The Hyperlinked Life were written separately. Perhaps the intention was to talk about two different topics related to the digital age (maybe knowledge in general and social media specifically?), but I found that their wasn’t a hard distinction.

Why did I choose to review this? AND My Takeaway:

Of course, like last time, I can identify with the challenges that the research brings up. Overwhelmed at times, yes. Too much to do, yes. An inability to say no to good things, yes. In fact, I go looking for good things to do even when I know that I don’t have the time to do them. Claire’s challenge to say no, create margins, and do something nourishing everyday are great reminders of what is needed to nourish my soul and have a strong God-centered inner life. While this book doesn’t add a whole lot to what has already been said, it’d be a great manageable resource for small groups to read and process together.

On a more random note, today the author had a baby and kept everyone updated on Twitter, making news.  My question is did she reserve twitter handles for all possible kid names that she likes? How does one get @Lucia as a Twitter handle these days? 😉

Questions I’m now asking:

  • What in the world do I give up to make margin in my life? I feel like I’m asking this question as a takeaway for everything these days. I see a theme! 🙂
  • What journaling style works for me? I’ve checked out a few books on journaling, hoping that I find something that is helpful to me. What I have going right now is not so interesting or useful to me.

Where you can go to find more: 

You can find more about the Barna frames here, as well as the authors, Claire Diaz-Ortiz & Diane Paddison.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review. 

**Some of the above links are affiliate links.** 

Book Review: Fighting for Peace



Fighting for Peace: Your Role in a Culture Too Comfortable with Violence by Carol Howard Merritt and Tyler Wigg-Stevenson.

What is this book about?

47% of adults say that they are less comfortable with violence than 10 years ago. In this FRAMES, the authors take a look at some very surprising research as it relates to American culture, violence, and Jesus. The first author takes a good hard look at what violence actually is (“force that hurts, damages”), how we each have a responsibility to own the violence problem (wowza, this part was good), and then explores the two myths of violence. He also provides a suggestion of overcoming violence, and (spoiler alert) it starts with us. According to the author, we have 3 options as to how to respond to violence in the world (p. 49):

  1. We can enjoy it, maybe even perpetrate it, letting it feed the myths of a world without God and a God without a cross and cultivating hard-heartedness at the suffering of others.
  2. We can turn away from it, trying to carve out a censored, perfectly safe life- ignoring the violence done on our behalf, or the subtle ways we’re complicit in it.
  3. We can let our hearts be broken, over and over again, wherever we find the world breaking people.

Those options might sound like our decision is a no-brainer. But when we are faced with real-life opportunities to choose a response, I think many of us may not realize what choice we’re actually making.

The second author, Carol Howard Merritt, tackles the tough topics of war, drones, gangs, segregation, guns, and domestic violence. She provides ways that we as Christ-followers can respond to these issues of violence in helpful, restorative ways. She leaves us with the idea of pursuing shalom, because we will never be able to fight for peace in our culture and our world until we fight for peace within ourselves (p. 77). Again, she gives us resources to do just that- practices of peace that will help transform our hearts.

This book does a great job of avoiding the arguments that typically comes up when we talk about violence: gun control, just war, etc. Instead, it focuses on the real, the practical, our everyday lives.

Why did I choose to review this?:

I desire to be a woman who is a peacemaker. While I used to think that meant protesting war, encouraging creative nonviolence, and not yelling at people when they cut in front of me in traffic, I now realize there is much more to it. It’s about how I speak to my children, how I parent, how I approach disagreement, what I take pleasure in. I hoped that this book would give me insight into that, as well as help me to understand American’s attitude towards violence in general.

My takeaway:

This is the fourth FRAMES book that I have reviewed, and this is by far the most thought-provoking and surprising of what I have read. A haunting statistic has stuck with me after finishing this book:

60% of Americans (and 57% of practicing Christians) would say they have a right to defend themselves with violence, but only 11% think Jesus would agree with them. 

This isn’t the only question that Christians answered this way…

44% of Americans and 47% of practicing Christians agree that acts of violence are sometimes necessary to defend freedom. only 10% of the same people said that Jesus would probably agree with them.

I’m shocked. Why is that number so low? And why are so many in our churches openly admitting that they believe something that they think that Jesus didn’t? What does that say about our cultures attitude (or understanding) of the necessity of violence? And our brother and sister’s understanding of what it means to be a Christ-follower?

Questions I’m now asking:

Okay, well, I guess I answered some of that above. But on a more personal level, I’m asking myself:

How can I cultivate shalom in my life? What areas need work? What steps can I take to be at peace (reading psalms, intentional thinking, capturing thoughts of unkindness/division, etc.)?

Where you can go to find more: 

You can find more about the Barna frames here, as well as the authors, Carol Howard Merritt & Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. If you are interesting in pursuing this topic more, here are some books that I recommend:



Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review. 

**Some of the above links are affiliate links.** 


Book Review: The Hyperlinked Life



The Hyperlinked Life: Live with Wisdom in an Age of Information Overload by Jun Young and David Kinnaman.

What is this book about?

Everyone has heard that we are well into the digital revolution. But how about the knowledge revolution?

We still have access to information produced for mass consumption. But the knowledge revolution- with information now available through interconnected digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers- is about personalized knowledge. It’s not simply information for the masses; it’s customized, personalized, on-demand information.

As we think about how people communicate, what kinds of information is out there in Internet land, how we get that information, what we are responsible to know, and what we are responsible to do after we know, it can all get a bit overwhelming. With the overabundance of information, how do we make decisions? What do we believe? How much time do we feel like we need to know? Is it ever okay to not know, even though the information is available to us?

The authors introduce the idea of Christ followers developing a theology of information to guide our thinking, knowing, communicating, and acting. They encourage readers to ask questions like:

  • As a hyperlinked people, what kinds of relationships with technology and information are beneficial, ethical and godly?
  • How does being hyperlinked affect our relationships, our minds, and our souls?
  • How can we avoid the cynicism of the transparent digital world in a way that enhances rather than tears down organizations and institutions?
  • What will define wisdom in a digital world where an immense amount of knowledge can be accessed so quickly? (p. 34-35)

Whew, huh? Munch on those questions awhile.

Why did I choose to review this?

I’m a blogger, so much of my world is about contributing to this knowledge revolution. How do I do so ethically? I too often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information, and because I love to connect people with resources, I’m always on the look out for great articles, books, websites, organizations, people in various fields, etc. You can only imagine how some days I feel overloaded with digital junk and have a hard time focusing on thinking long, deep thoughts about one thing (I’m sure this also has something to do with being around 4 little kids all day ;)). I wanted some framework to work with as to how to receive information as well as contribution information well.

My takeaway:

Because we are not going back to a non-digital age, I’m in need of creating boundaries that are going to allow me to engage in the newness, while also maintaining a sense of Sabbath and “real-time” presentness. I think more than ever, some of the age-old disciplines of solitude, silence, prayer, and meditation are ones that will be very important in maintaining a sense of spiritual sensitivity and relational connectedness.

Questions I’m now asking:

  • What healthy boundaries do I need to make with “always being present and available”?
  • What healthy boundaries do I need to make in my intake of information?
  • How can I help my children to create boundaries for themselves while still engaging in the digital reality that we live in?
  • How do I communicate a real me online? The temptation is to create an online presence that is intelligent with an expertise in a certain area. This often means that my online presence is edited. For bloggers, this can be a tricky area. How much do we reveal? How do we stay in our niche while also communicating that we are a whole person?
  • How do I use my unique giftings and talents to make the digital world (and hopefully the physical world) a better place?

Where you can go to find more: 

You can learn more about Barna Frames, and also about the two authors, Jun Young and David Kinnaman

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review. 

**Some of the above links are affiliate links.** 


Book Review: Freefall to Fly

A few weeks ago, I attended the If:Gathering {Local} and was very impressed by one of the speakers- Rebekah Lyons. Before this, I was very familiar with her husband- a part of the Catalyst Conference and then founder of Q Ideas, but I didn’t know anything about Rebekah. I must admit that when I first saw the line-up, I was a bit skeptical. Was the conference team giving her a platform simply because of who her husband is? {Little did I know that she is the co-founder of Q Ideas!}

Rebekah’s talk was humble and gentle, yet bold and strong. After the conference, I quickly requested her book from the library and immediately moved it to the top of my reading list when it came in.


In Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning, Rebekah shares her story of finding her calling, her purpose, her God-given gifts. Her writing style is beautiful and full of authenticity and intimacy. She reveals her good parts and the parts that many would want to sweep under the rug. She tells of her fears of mental illness, of her deep love for her son who has special needs, of her panic attacks, of her being at the end of herself, and of her discovery of the gifts that God has given her. I’m so glad that her mom told her one day at the park, “I always thought you’d be a writer”, because this beautiful lady knows how to write and is impacting the lives of thousands of women around the world through her willingness to share her struggles and journey toward meaning.

At the end of this book, I was tempted to jump on her website, and beg her to let me come visit her for a week, or perhaps mentor me from afar. I slept on the idea, and in the morning thought that that may be a very odd thing for an author to hear from a stranger. So, alas, I’m just hoping that she writes more or speaks somewhere in the midwest within driving distance!

You can follow her on FB, Twitter, or her blog.

Book Review: 20 and Something

I’m loving these Frames mini-books.


What is this book about?

20 and Something: Have the Time of Your Life (And Figure It All Out Too) discusses the issues surrounding today’s “roaring 20s”. Some people think that 20somethings are caught in an extended adolescence and need a good whack in the be-hind to grow up and get moving on with life. Others have a bit more mercy and see this group as slightly overwhelmed adults who are freedom fighters, risk-takers, and dreamers. David H. Kim invites all of those who work with, care about, or have an interest in 20somethings to carefully consider the multiple factors playing into this perfect storm of the quarter life. He does a fantastic job of shedding hope on what some people see as a stunted generation.

Why did I choose to review this?

I have a special place in my heart for 20somethings. While I’m on the cusp of the GenX and Millenials generation cutoffs, I do feel like I identify more with the Millenials. While I have a family and a grown-up life, I also get the huge questions of life and the crazy amount of choices that we now have. Who wants to go into a job that sucks the life out of you? Why would someone spend 40-60 hours a week somewhere that they didn’t absolutely love and have a passion for? I think this generation has grown up being the children of adults who dislike their jobs, have had dissolved marriages, and work so that they can someday retire. I get it. I also enjoy working with college students, so I thought this little book might be helpful to read!

In the Re-frame, Phyllis Tickle shares her experience as a 20something (which was 60 years ago!) and identifies the present day quarter life crisis as a result of a lack of center in these young adults. Once upon a time, she says, people grew up in a  location and stayed there. They knew who they were, where they were going to live, what they were going to do, and who was going to be a part of their community. Today is almost never the case.

For Christians, their “center” is found at church, but that’s not as easy as it once was. “At church” no longer means what it once did. For Phyllis, one spiritual practice that has helped her to stay centered is practicing the prayers of the daily office- praying throughout the day at certain times, praying prayers of our spiritual mothers and fathers, and knowing that Christians in every timezone are praying those too. Of course, she knows this is not for everyone, but she challenges 20somethings to find something, some kind of spiritual discipline, if you will, that helps them to stay focused on the long journey with Christ, even if the location and community changes around them.

My takeaway:

Millenials are an incredibly difficult group to pin down. It’s hard to look at statistics and make sense out of them. In the book I found a few statistics that were a bit contradictory– I don’t think this was because the research was done wrong or reported incorrectly. I think it’s because this group of people is generally a bit paradoxical. The best bet in understanding this generation is not to focus so much on the statistics, but to get to know them. Invite them to dinner. Attend an event with them. Mentor them. Ask them questions.

Questions I’m now asking:

1. What practices can I engage in to “find my center” as Phyllis Tickle mentions in her re-frame section of the book?

2. How can I help others engage in practices that will find their center?

Where you can go to find more: 

You can learn more about Barna Frames, and also about the two authors, David H. Kim and Phyllis Tickle.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review. 

**Some of the above links are affiliate links.** 

Book Review: Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel


What is this book about?

Grace-based Parenting is a way to parent children that is gospel-centered instead of morality-centered. Tim Kimmel wisely and gently guides parents to a better way of parenting through personal stories of compassion, grace, love, and perspective. While some may wonder if a parenting based in grace would be too lenient, Kimmel shows that that is absolutely not the case. However, he does challenge some of the parenting frameworks that have been passed down to modern day parents, particularly the ones that lean towards the extremes, but also that rely on behavior modification and fear of others’ opinions or imagined dangers all around. He makes a case that the three gifts that children must receive from us are love, purpose, and hope, and those only come through an environment of grace that is set by parents.

Why did I choose to review this?

I very much desire my parenting to reflect the love and grace of God to my kids. But I don’t know how to do that. It’s not my automatic response to give grace. What does that look like when raising kids? How do you give grace and keep standards? I go back and forth between wondering if I’m too strict and being convinced I’m not strict enough. I’ve read many parenting books on making kids obey, but not about creating environments of grace.


My takeaway:

Jake and I are rereading this book together this summer because it’s that good. Despite this book being about grace, I felt convicted through reading this book of some changes that need to happen in our parenting. One key quote that sums up it all:

God has given parents the responsibility to be the gatekeepers of His grace.

Questions I’m now asking:

1. What does it look like to offer grace to my kids? And my husband too, while I’m at it?

2. Why am I so afraid to offer grace to my kids, but find grace to be as important as oxygen for myself?

Where you can go to find more: 

You can find out more about Tim Kimmel at his website, Family Matters: Building Grace-Based Relationships. It looks like he has a blog that his staff blogs at on a daily basis as well.  The organization is on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

Book Review: Blue Bike- The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World

I first stumbled across Tsh Oxenreider’s famous blog, then Simple Mom, when we moved back from Kenya to the States. I remember that at about the same time, she was moving back to the States from somewhere overseas, and how it was a transition of mixed emotions. I felt a connection with her that resulted in me subscribing to her blog. Since then, I’ve enjoyed her posts on living intentionally, living simply,and living as a global citizen.  She is a voracious reader, and I’m often getting my “next book” ideas from her. So when I heard that this book, Blue Bike, was being released, I was really eager to read it. I entered in every giveaway I could to try and win the book (I rarely actually buy books because I don’t typically reread them). No dice. Thankfully, it came up on Booklook Blogger site, and I quickly requested it. Yes!


What is this book about?

Tsh reflects on her and her family’s journey from post-college life through current life with three kids and an at-home business. Nomadic at heart, Tsh and her family have been to Kosovo, Turkey, Austin, Tx and now Bend, Oregon. Lots of moving, lots of hard work building internet-based businesses, but they have managed to keep a very intentional lifestyle. She shares her family’s journey of living out their values in the basic categories of life- food, work, education, travel, and entertainment.

Why did I choose to review this?

Jake and I’s deepest desire is to live intentional lives. Why we do what we do is just as important to us as what we actually do. Over the last couple years, we’ve been struggling to keep up with our reflective, intentional life. Between many cross-country moves, lots of schooling, and many kids, we’re really tired and have stopped trying as hard as we once did. I thought that this book may be what we need to reenergize ourselves to align our daily practices to our values.

My takeaway:

My positive takeaway is to spend some time with Jake and re-dream about the life we’re living. This summer is going to be a slower one for us, and we’re looking forward to regrouping. As we prepare, we’re trying to be more intentional about nurturing our souls so that we can hear God’s voice more clearly. Also, Tsh is a fantastic writer. I love her style of writing- easy to read, good word choice, etc.

Overall, however, I was disappointed in the book. Perhaps it was because i had ridiculously high expectations, or maybe because I feel excluded from the life Tsh describes. Her life seems to be really fun- working from home with her husband, jumping on planes to Paris and Turkey and Australia (sometimes the whole family, sometimes not), and having the resources to buy organic and farm-fresh everything.

More importantly, while one of the goals of the book was to help the readers live a less hurried life, I feel like what she was describing would only cause more hurriedness and stress. Cooking for an hour plus everyday for dinner with 4 cranky kids under foot waiting for my husband to come home does not sound wonderful, relaxed and simple. Grocery shopping at 4 different places each week sounds exhausting (farmer’s markets, picking up from co-ops, going to the butcher shop, etc.). And while I would absolutely love to pick up my kids and travel around the world with them, it’s not an option. The cost of one international trip would cost the amount of money Jake makes in a year as a TA. I know that we’re at a unique life stage (husband in full-time school, momma staying at home with littles, etc.), but I’m guessing that most of America with young children does not have the resources to travel the world, learning about different cultures.

Tsh does add a chapter at the end saying that what her family does is not the right way for every family, but perhaps that would have been better at the beginning of the book, as well as sprinkled throughout the middle 200 pages. Instead, I felt judged by a tone of writing that lacked humility, understanding for others’ circumstances, and most of all, awareness of her place of privilege. While it’s true that she has lived in war-torn places before marriage (not sure exactly what she was doing, she’s a little vague on that), I think that perhaps she isn’t aware of the real struggles many people here in the states have.

Perhaps the book rubbed me the wrong way because of our life stage, but I hope that when we are eventually done with school, and are settled in one place (after 10+ years of moving all over the country and world), that I will remember each chapter of life, and live and give in such a way that reflects our family’s values of faith, radical generosity, equality, creativity and compassion.

BUT, if you are a upper middle class family, you might love this book! 🙂

Questions I’m now asking:

1. How can we better align our marriage with our 5 family values?

2. How can we parent in such a way that reflects our 5 family values?

3. What experiences can we create for the kids (and some of their friends!) that will help them to be a better global citizen?

Where can you go to learn more?

You can learn more about Tsh at her personal website, and also at her network of sites, The Art of Simple.

Thank you BookLook Bloggers, for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.