Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them : Review

One of the things I hope to do this year is work through this 2016 Reading Challenge. I already read a lot, but I’m hoping this will get me to be more focused and to read a larger variety of books. I wanted to read more non-fiction last year, but that just didn’t happen. I hope this will help me with that. And I plan on blogging about the books I read as sort of an accountability. I hope to read at least one book every two weeks, which means 26 books total (I haven’t lost my math skills have I). My goal is for half of the books to be non-fiction. At first that sounded extremely easy, but with two kids in the house now it’s a bit more daunting. With the help of my trusty Kindle app during lunch breaks and night feedings I think I can make it through. I’m sure I’ll read more than 26 books, but from past experience the free ones I get on my Kindle app aren’t worth mentioning. As Tim Challies mentions on the website, I’m going with the “discard all the rules and choose books from any plan in any order” option. I know, strange for a rule-follower like me. So here we go.

The first book I read is “a book for children” in the light reader plan. I doubt it’s what he had in mind, but I went with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamandar (aka J.K. Rowling). I got it as a part of The Hogwarts Library boxed set which I received for Christmas. I know it makes me a terrible Baptist, but I LOVE Harry Potter so I thought it would be fun to add these to my collection. They’re also making a movie (trilogy I believe) based on this book. The first movie comes out this November. I thought the book would follow along in story format like a movie would, but I was wrong. I guess that’s what I get for not doing my research.

The book is basically like a textbook that Harry would use at Hogwarts. One of the selling points is that it has his and Ron’s notes. Well, the book ended up being more like I textbook than I had anticipated, and it had less “notes” than I had hoped. It goes through a history of classification of magical beasts and then a description of beasts in A-Z order. Occasionally there would be a few words “hand-written” by Ron or Harry about beasts they’ve encountered. I think instead of reading this like a regular book it would be fun to use it almost like a reference when reading the other books or watching the movies. The descriptions were enjoyable, but not something you’d sit down and get immersed in. It took me longer to read than a basic 128 page book normally would. If you have kids it might be fun to use it as a tool for make-believe play. Get them to draw, act out or write a story on the creatures. Not really a bedtime story type of book though.

All in all, even though it’s not what I expected I am glad that I have it in my collection. It’s fun to be able to take a quick visit to the world of Harry Potter (much quicker and cheaper than the trip to Universal Studios I’ve been bugging Lee about for years). I’m also looking forward to the first movie. Another selling point for this book is that its proceeds go to Comic Relief, a charity that strives to end poverty for children. They also do Red Nose Day (remember that celebrity telethon from last year). So if you’re a Harry Potter fanatic then consider adding this book to your collection. Or get the three book set like I did. I plan on reading the other two books, and then maybe I’ll update here.

I plan on reviewing 10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Needs to Know by Jeana Floyd next time. I’m about 40% of the way through (according to my app) and I hope to have it finished and reviewed by the end of the end of the week. Wish me luck. Are you doing the reading challenge? What have you done so far? Also, is there a book that changed your life? This is one of the book ideas from the challenge and I’m needing some suggestions. Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

12 Things I've Learned In The Last Month

The last time I updated we were preparing to open our home for foster care. Well, 2 months later we are in the thick of things.
Our home opened on December 14, and we took in two sisters on the 15th. The two year old and 6 week old had been in care for about a month, but they were in separate homes. They were finally going to be together in our home. I know their previous foster families were sad to see them go, but we know it’s the right thing for them to be together. Here’s some things I’ve learned over the past month.

  1.  Toddler crying memes are a lot funnier when you don’t have a toddler. Although laughing about it is sometimes the only way to survive.
  2. Having a sick baby is the saddest and scariest thing in the world (and I’m a stereotypical paranoid first time mom).
  3.  Kids do indeed want to read the same book over and over and over again (but them wanting to read books is AWESOME).
  4. You can in fact drink 100 cups of fake tea in a day.
  5. Good intentions on perfect parenting go out the window when kids are sick and cranky.
  6. Stay-at-home moms are angels (and possibly a tad bit insane).
  7. God bless daycare workers!
  8.  Leaving the house with the possibility of another human’s bodily fluids on my clothing is infinitely more likely now (I wouldn’t even leave the house in sweatpants before unless it was to go for a walk…hahahaha).
  9. Seeing kids grow and learn is one of the most beautiful blessings in the world.
  10. My husband is super fantastic (I already knew this, but when he takes midnight feedings, learns how to do ponytails, takes kids to the doctor, and lets me escape for a few hours by myself it is reiterated over again).
  11. We have the most amazing family and friends in our support system. Really, you guys have gone above and beyond in helping us with this transition and we are forever grateful.
  12. God has blessed us beyond belief over this past month. We love these little girls. We love them through poopy diapers, tantrums, and very little sleep. That love only comes from the Lord. There have been several times I’ve been frustrated and/or angry. I’ve made mistakes already, but God has given me the strength and love I need for these two beauties and for Lee. I thank God every day for Christ’s loving sacrifice and we pray daily for the salvation of these girls and their parents. Thanks to everyone who has prayed with us.
Many of you have said that you don’t understand how we can do it (sometimes we don’t either). There have been two posts that friends have shared this past week that have really resonated with me. We do it because God has called us to. We have to let go of our fears and trust that God knows what he’s doing. Read this and this to get some insight into the world of fostering. They say things better than I can.

As I mentioned earlier, so many of you have helped us incredibly over the last month. We continue to ask for your prayers (and wouldn’t turn away an offer to babysit) as we continue this journey. As believers we’ve all been called to help the helpless. Not everyone is called to foster/adopt, but if you’d like to help those in the foster system check in with local organizations that help foster families. If you’re in Arkansas look into The Call (an organization that has helped us tremendously). They have all kinds of opportunities for you to be a part of the fostering community including buying a rack of ribs, donating clothes and diapers, and attending a conference on how the church can support the foster system. And if you need some more suggestions, just ask!