Books, Check ‘Em Out! (Books I’ve Loved)

This past year I have had a resurgence in my reading.  I think a lot of it is because my kids are at an age where they don’t chew/rip books anymore.  I’ve been a bookworm since I was a kid (hello, Babysitters Club), so it’s nice to get back to devouring books.

Since I am headed back to get my masters degree soon, my days of “reading for fun” are limited, so I am trying to squeeze in ALL THE BOOKS until then!

Basically, I am channeling my inner Rory Gilmore.

So all of this talk about books has got me thinking about some of my favorites.  I know I will forget some (hello, mom-brain) that I have loved, but I just wanted to throw a handful out there in case you need a good one!

(No particular order)

BLUE LIKE JAZZ, By Donald Miller

51sRO9di-NL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE.  Young, old, male, female, Christian, non-Christian.  I started reading this just a chapter every morning before the kids were up, but it was so good, I found myself picking it up throughout the day because I couldn’t get enough.  Donald is an amazing writer who makes you think about topics in a laid back, un-pretentious way.  One of many things that I took away from this book was how he talked about tithing.  Until reading this, I didn’t understand it.  But that is just a little blip in the big picture of this favorite book of mine.

 

FOR THE LOVE, By Jen Hatmaker

511s5jjyaOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Oh boy, this is seriously one of my all-time faves.  I have listened to the audiobook version a million times (rounded up).  I have also read the hard copy.  But honestly, she makes it come even more alive since she is the narrator.  She will make you laugh, cry, and inspire you.  If you are a mom, you HAVE to read this book. Now.

 

GONE GIRL, By Gillian Flynn

41cSJI7PfHL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_

This was an absolute page-turning shocker of a book.  It’s been a couple years since I read it, but I still think about it from time-to-time.  I don’t like books that are too scary (I can easily freak myself out in the middle of the night), but this one was just enough suspense and drama to keep me reading.  I have heard they did a good job on the movie, too.

 

Carry On, Warrior, By Glennon Doyle (Melton)

51yBwBd70+L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

I also listened to the audiobook version (Glennon narrates it) and read this.  NOBODY IS PERFECT (hello, blog title…) and Glennon writes beautifully, sternly, hilariously and emotionally about embracing our messy lives.  I have her newest book, Love Warrior, and I want to start it over soon.  I started it when I was in the thick of my divorce, and it was a little too heavy for me to read at that time.  I can’t wait to read it, because of how much I love Carry On, Warrior.

 

DISARMING THE NARCISSIST, By Wendy T. Behary, LCSW

19017208

Oh boy, was this an eye-opener!  I am interested in the mental health field (that is what I am going back to get my masters in), so this was fascinating.  If you have a narcissist in your life, I recommend it 100%.  It isn’t a difficult read, but it can really help you figure out what is going on in the mind of the narcissist.

 

BOSSYPANTS, By Tina Fey  &  YES PLEASE, By Amy Poehler

Ok, these two go hand-in-hand because they are two of my favorite current actresses/comediennes.  I want to be besties with them both.  I read Bossypants and listened to Yes Please.  I would totally recommend listening to Amy’s because she has so many guest readers and extras in the audio version that you would miss out on by only reading the book.  Both are so entertaining, but also really interesting & surprisingly a tad emotional.

 

THE HELP, By Katherine Stockett

81wSLYbTFYL

I read this and also saw the movie (always book first, is my rule), and both were incredible.  I read the book years ago and couldn’t put it down.  It will make you cry, laugh, cheer and open your eyes.  They cast the movie perfectly to capture the dynamic personality of each character. So, so, good.

 

Well, there you have it.  A few books I have loved in the past.  Writing this, I realize my book-review skillz need some tuning up, but I wanted to throw these gems out there before I completely forget I’ve read them.

Tell me, what are you reading?  What books have you LOVED?

 

A Letter to My Kids

Dear Ashton & Gemma,

 

There is a lot of crazy junk going on in our country right now, and I am thankful you both are too young to understand it right now.  I pray that when you are old enough to understand these goings on, they are far, far behind us.

A long time ago (even before I was born… I know, ancient) there were some very mean people in the world who did and said very bad things.  I wish I had been a better history student (sorry Mr. Exline), because I would be able to explain it more eloquently.  Anyway, because of these mean people, OTHER people were treated badly and not given the same rights because of very unfair, mean reasons.  A couple reasons were because their skin was a different color than the mean people, they had different beliefs than the mean people and many other reasons.  It was a very sad time.

Fortunately our country overcame a lot of the problems, and people were treated more equally (not completely, there were still problems).

Fast-forward to today.  It kind of feels like we are going back in time, because there are some new “mean people” who are causing a lot of trouble in our country.  I think these people are scared for some reason, but that is never a reason to be mean or unfair to others.  It is scary to mommy when the person who is in charge of our country and is supposed to be someone we look to for leadership is one of those “mean people.”  The things he has done/said/not done/not said, are all things that I am trying to teach you both not to do.

In our house I am trying my hardest to teach you both to be like Jesus.  What does that mean in a nutshell?  It means I want you to be kind.  I want you to reach out to those people who might be hurting.  I want you to be friends with people no matter what color their skin, no matter what religion they associate with, no matter how much money their families have.  I want you to love as big as you love right now, don’t lose that, ok?

Most of all I want you both to know the amazing, unconditional love of Jesus, and I want it to light you up. Then when people see you, when they talk to you, they know exactly where that LIGHT comes from.  It is a bit of a dark time and if we can’t change things right now, we can at least be a shining light in the dark.  Every little bit of light makes a difference.  I can’t change our leadership, but I can make sure that I am the light I want to see in the world, and I can try my hardest to help you do the same.

I love you more than you’ll ever know,

Mommy

Cold Turkey

My name is Jacquelynn, and I am a mint-o-holic. There. It’s out.

But it’s not just any old mint, it is the Lifesaver Wint-O-Green individually wrapped mints.

wint_o_green_lbag

A Short Poem About My Mint Addiction

I eat them in the van, I eat them when I’m walking.

I eat them when I’m reading, I can eat them when I’m talking.

These little discs of minty sugar have become a bit of an obsession,

So the time has come to kick them to the curb, that is my confession.

(My middle school english teacher said that exact thing to me, “Jacquelynn, poetry doesn’t always have to rhyme.” Ummm… If I am going to read or write it, you bet it does!)

So in conclusion, after I finish this last bag I have, I will no longer be partaking in these little bits of deliciousness.  I am quitting them cold turkey.  When I see them calling out to me at the grocery store saying “just one more bag won’t hurt,” this is what I have to say to the mints:

 

Four Friday Favorites

Say THAT five times fast!

Okay, here are some things I am LOVING lately:

1. My new workout (and more) program, Strong Chicks Rock!

img_3362

Rachel is an amazing trainer, coach and now I also consider her a friend.  She takes the time to create a program for each individual member that custom-fits their lives.

 

img_3363

This is Rachel, she is a rockstar.

If I, a single mama of two toddlers, can do this… ANYONE can.  It feels SO GOOD to feel my muscles again!

You don’t have to be local, and she might have some openings left! Check her out ASAP  HERE.

2. This book.

This book struck such a chord in me.  Sometimes you can hear the same thing over and over and over and over again, but then someone phrases it in a different way and BOOM, you just get it.

Jennie writes with such honesty and makes me want to sit down with her, have a cup of coffee and talk about all things life & Jesus. Check out the book HERE.

3.  ACUPUNCTURE.

A friend recommended a place for acupuncture that is actually affordable (I’m talking $20 instead of $90+).  It’s totally different than any other place I’ve seen.  You get to sit in a giant comfy recliner, blankets if you want and dim lights.  I (like a lot of people) fell asleep and had the BEST. NAP. EVER. My acupuncturist took the time to talk to me first,  come up with a little game plan and then the poking and napping commenced. I’m headed back today and cannot wait! If you are local, check them out HERE.

4.  Friday afternoon CLEANING PARTIES!

Okay, so it’s not really a party, but for the last few weeks we (I) turn on some music and we (I) clean the windows, lysol the doorknobs, cupboard handles, light switches and vacuum/swiffer.  Seriously, going into the weekend with a clean-ish, disinfected casa is MUY BIEN!

But by Saturday morning it’s usually back to this:

Oh well, we (I) tried.

Summer (school) Lovin’

So the kids started a summer program at the school where Gemma is getting different types of therapy (click HERE to read more about the awesomesauce school).  Since I became a mama, Ashton & Gemma have never been in a daycare or preschool of any sort.  So when I dropped them off last Wednesday for the first time, this was me:

My bay-beeeeeeees!

I drove to target to pick up a few things and then headed home, all the while feeling like a part of me was missing or that I was forgetting something.  Without my kids, this is me:

But then I got home and I went from sad to:

HOME ALONE!!!!!

It was quiet, I could clean without a toddler right behind me undoing the cleaning, I could sit down and eat a meal.  It was GLORIOUS!

Now, two mornings a week I wake up with a smile knowing I get a couple hours to do whatever I want or nothing at all.

School is the best.

I promise I still love you, kids.

Breaking Up With the “F Word”

Not the “F word” you were thinking, get your mind out of the gutter.

The F-word I am talking about is: FINE

It’s such a weenie of a word, and it’s used (I have used it) waaaaaay too often.  So I am officially breaking up with FINE.

I just finished listening to an audiobook called Never Unfriended, by Lisa Jo Baker, and it has been so convicting.  I have been recommending it left & right because there is something for EVERYONE in this book.  It’s helped me unpack some of my junk (hello, friendship PTSD) so my relationships (friends and family) can FLOURISH.  There are so many things to talk about from this book, I’ll save them for another time.

I’ve still got work to do (don’t we all?), but one simple thing I can do is get rid of fine and insert other adjectives.  Fine is a scapegoat that so easily rolls off the tongue even when we are a far-cry from fine.  I want people to feel safe to tell me how they really feel, and I want people around me who want to hear more than “fine” from me.

I want to hear and speak about JOY!

I want to hear and speak about SADNESS!

I don’t want to cover up emotions and feelings with the old “fine” blanket anymore, mmmmkay?

Having said all that, I am not perfect (hello, Perfection Pending).  I am going to make the effort to eliminate that word from my vocabulary, but there’s a good chance I will slip up here and there.

And that is just fine.

Oops.

The Curve Ball

Last Wednesday, life threw me a (yet, another) curve ball.  While I knew it was probably coming, my daughter was diagnosed as highly autistic.  What I wasn’t expecting was the news that there is concern she is also having tiny seizures and needs to be tested for that.  Scary, to say the least.

I think I was numb to it all until two days ago.

As a single mom of two toddlers, life is VERY BUSY.  Not a lot of time to sit with my thoughts or really process news like I received. So, as I have found, emotions/grief can creep up and surprise me at unlikely times.  Writing helps me process and is very therapeutic for my mind and soul, so I really need to start doing more of that.  Maybe some here, and in journaling.

Anyway, two days ago we went to a fun little picnic that my aunt’s chiropractic center was putting on (I know, so random).  It was great, a beautiful day to boot.  But, there was enough time at the picnic and on the 1 hour round-trip commute for me to be able to think and for the sadness to bubble up and overflow.

So. Many. Tears.

 

It needed to happen (the crying release) and I felt a bit better after, but sheesh.  I am learning about autism, but there is soooooo much I don’t know.  I know even less about the seizures, but I now feel like someone is strangling my heart every time I see her stare off.  I didn’t realize how painful it can be waiting for answers or a cure when your child is not well.  I want answers YESTERDAY!

So where I sit today is learning.  Learning about Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning about seizures and learning patience. None of which is easy.  But life isn’t always easy.  Thanks for letting me share a bit of my heart here today (if anyone is reading, haha😄).  Let’s learn together!