hello fall. [+ a giveaway]

September has always felt more like the start of a new year to me than January ever has. It probably has something to do with being part of the academic cycle for so long, even after my own days as a student ended. And this September certainly felt like the start of all sorts of new things.

Grace upon grace, we bought our first home.

new-home

There are so many miracles to this becoming a reality. We closed on the house on September 12, and spent our first night in our new home on September 17. I’m still utterly amazed to come back to this place every day. What grace it is to call it home. We had so much help in moving, cleaning and throughout the entire house buying process. I’m in awe of all the people the Lord used to care for us in this transition and making this miracle happen.

I already wrote about the challenges of choosing rest in the midst of transition, but it truly was a deep heart challenge for me. Moving while pregnant, with a toddler is no picnic. I think I assumed since this wasn’t a cross country move (as my last several have been) it would be so much easier. And in some ways it was, but I think I forgot that it was still a transition. I still needed to give myself and others the grace that comes with transition.

Some of those graces came in the enjoyment of some beautiful and simple things:

  • Apple picking. We had a beautiful sunny afternoon for apple juice to run down our chins and arms as we ate and picked. It was lovely.

apple-picking

  • Lighting a pumpkin candle and letting it flicker while I made dinner.
  • Sitting on our porch and watching the cars go by. We live on a busy street, so there are almost ALWAYS cars to watch. I thought this would be one of the things I liked least about our new home, but my darling girl can’t get enough. Her delight in watching and waving and dancing at the cars going by makes it hard to mind the traffic outside our door.IMG_5114.JPG
  • Planting bulbs. I’ve wanted to plant bulbs for ages and now I have over 100 in the ground for spring. It feels like such grace to have moved in time to plant them. And that this sweet baby will probably be born around the time the daffodils and tulips and grape hyacinths come up!
  • Drinking pumpkin coffee.
  • Bread making. After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer I decided I wanted to try and give up buying bread and start making our own. Two weeks in and six loaves later, me and my bread machine are going strong. Gluten-free & gluten-filled alike are delicious. And the smell can’t be beat. (Bonus: the mixing and kneading are excellent toddler entertainment!)

coffee-pumpkin-butter-bread-1

  • Making these scrumptious fall dishes:

Broccoli cheddar soup.

Pumpkin butter.

Slow cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Apple cake with cream cheese frosting.

Gluten free chicken pot pie.

Apple cinnamon zucchini muffins.

apple-picking-2

  • Making time to read. You’ve probably guessed that usually this isn’t a problem, and you’d be right. But in the midst of transition, it is hard to choose the things that feed me life, when I just want to be unpacked and not feeling chaotic. It is hard to choose to rest when so much remains undone. But it is the better thing. So, I read and am so glad (especially since it included one of the best books I’ve ever read on parenting that I get to give away a copy of!)

FICTION

Secrets of a Charmed Life.

This one was a beautiful unfolding of historical account of London’s children being evacuated to the English countryside during WWII, through the fictional story of two sisters. It was tremendously engaging and kept me hooked until the end. A bittersweet story. B for me. 

A Lady Unrivaled. 

This one was said to be reminiscent of Downton Abbey, and it certainly did have some of those elements, as main characters came from both upstairs and downstairs. And there was plenty of drama with secret rare diamonds being hunted! While this was the third book in the series, I didn’t seem to suffer for not reading the other two books. I found myself endeared to the two main characters and their quirks. This was an enjoyable read. B for me. 

*Bethany House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

The Secret Ingredients of Wishes.

This book felt like a modern fairy tale. The main character has the ability to make wishes come true, with some previously negative results, so she tries to run away from her life and the people she might hurt. I thought this was a creative look at the impact of our actions on others and how even our failures can end up being redeemed. This was a fun book to read, and full of so many pies (reflective of another character’s ability). It felt like a combination of Pushing Daisies and Ella Enchanted. B+ for me. 

(While not explicit, there were a few more secular, sexually charged scenes. They were not enough to make me set aside the book, but worth noting.)

Shades of Milk and Honey.

Jane Austen plus magic made this book such a fun read. If you’re a fan of the language and feel of Austen’s books and wonder what it might be like if someone like Mr. Darcy and Elisabeth could do magic, this is the book for you. I enjoyed the main characters immensely and found myself comparing them to Pride & Prejudice, in the best sorts of ways. This book had just enough magic to be fun, but not too much to be ridiculous. I loved this imaginative take on this era. A- for me. 

The Road We Traveled.

I’ve always had a soft spot for anything about the Oregon Trail, probably because I grew up playing the computer game AND I love the place itself. This book was a beautiful story based on an incredibly fierce, independent and kind woman who bravely made the journey. I loved getting to the end of the story and discovering how MUCH of the book had been true. All the fictionalized parts only felt to aid the story and character of an amazing woman. And I deeply love any book that has an unconventional heroine, with this one following an older woman into our courageous beginning in uncharted territory. A for me. 

*Revell Publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

NONFICTION

America at the Crossroads.

In light of the elections this year, I wanted to read this book and learn more about how America has changed in recent years. While not all the trends felt “new” to me as I’m living through them, the rapid pace of some of the changes was incredibly insightful. I appreciated the factual and engaging way of communicating about the trends in our country. I found this book to be a helpful source to understanding the current state of America. I came away with a sobered heart and a deep desire to pray for our country, convinced that the Lord is the only one who can change hearts and can heal our country. I’d highly recommend this book for anyone seeking more understanding at the trends in our country and the coming election. A- for me. 

*Baker Books has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

 

Love Warrior.

I love Glennon Doyle Melton’s book, Carry On, Warrior, so I already knew I wanted to read this one when it came out. This memoir focused on her marriage and the things she learned through the tremendous pain and trauma there. I read it in a night. I couldn’t put it down. I love her vulnerable, fierce stories where she bares it all. But, it wasn’t an easy book to read. There was much pain and awful and Glennon shares much of the grit. And it didn’t end tidy or neat. I came away grateful for her courage to share so deeply, but also spent for the emotional journey I’d been on with her. I didn’t like this book as much as Carry On, Warrior, but don’t know that that is bad. This book felt more vulnerable, darker, more painful, more intimate than that book, and I don’t know that “like” is a term that feels appropriate for someone sharing the trauma and healing the last years have brought. B for me. 

Everything is Possible.

I think anytime we get the chance to hear the story of someone who is different than us, we should listen in. I loved learning from Jen Bricker, as she shares about her life without legs. Her honesty about the struggles as well as her overwhelming determination and faith were tremendously inspiring. Part way through, I had to remind myself that I don’t actually know  Jen, but it felt hard to remember in the midst of her easy, open way of story telling. B for me. 

*Baker Books has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

Made Well.

Jenny Simmons brought my heart to a tender, hurting place for her deep losses in the first pages, only to have me laughing hard in the next pages. Her honest, kind storytelling is simply beautiful. It is clear that she knows Jesus. This feels like one hurting girl of his extending her hand to anyone who might take it, anyone who wants to go to Jesus and be made well too. I loved the mess, the imperfection, the humor, the gentleness of this woman and her words. A for me. 

*Baker Books has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

Befriend.

Friendship is hard, and real relationships in a culture of social media and followers are even more challenging than perhaps before. This book spends each chapter talking about different ways to create belonging in a way that reflects the heart of Jesus. I love that this book doesn’t shy away from what it looks like to truly follow after Jesus. It includes a heart for those who aren’t easy to love, those who look vastly different than us. I deeply appreciated the honesty and vulnerability, especially in chapters about sexual orientation and race. This is a messy, real conversation about what it means to follow Jesus in relationships. A for me. 

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

Home.

I loved this book. Elyse Fitzpatrick is a humble, kind storyteller who points the reader to our heart’s longing for things to be made right and beautiful. We long for our true home and our true selves, with our God. This book made heaven more real and more desirable than ever before for me, drawing from Scripture and imagination. I came away with a greater hope and desire to live well now, knowing the impact on the place I get to be forever. This is a beautiful, hope-filled, helpful book for the Christian. A for me. 

*Bethany House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

 

Gluten Free for Good. 

This book is lovely. The photos are simply scrumptious and littered throughout. When I flipped through the pages, I thought, “this is everything I want a cookbook to be.” There are more “adventurous” recipes, and more simple ones. I’m looking forward to trying both sides. I’ve found other cookbooks that rely too heavily on “gluten free baking mixes” without giving the tools or ingredients to create recipes without the said mix. This is NOT that cookbook, and I’m so glad. I only wish there was an estimated time listed for the recipe to be created, but that is honestly my ONLY complaint thus far. Simply lovely. A- for me. 

*Blogging for Books has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

 

Parenting.

This book is the book I want everyone to read, and not just parents. We are all someone’s child and are impacted by parents, whether or not it is our story to become one. Instead of a step by step process or specific things to try, Paul Tripp steps back to help us see the big picture of parenting in light of the gospel. His words give life to so much of what I’m stumbling through on my own, and what the Lord is showing me through my own parenting. He walks through the idea of being an ambassador of the gospel to our children, instead of an “owner” of our children. He does an exceptional job speaking to the subtle, yet dramatic ways that these ways of thinking shape our children. This book felt like affirmation and encouragement, a sobering truth and a call to living out the gospel. I’m so grateful for this book. A+ for me. 

*Flyby Promotions and Crossway Publishers have provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

I have the privilege to give a copy of Parenting away to one of my readers. I’m so grateful to be able to give such an excellent book away. Leave a comment to be entered and I’ll draw a winner next week.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

*this post contains affiliate links.

*I joined up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and  What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer’s blog as she shares her favorites and invites others to do the same. What a gift to reflect and learn together!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for including my muffins! Congrats on the new house! We moved with a toddler, only 6 miles, and it was absolutely exhausting. & I wasn’t pregnant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. elisabethdupton says:

    So grateful for this “new year” season we are both in!

    It’s so funny your giveaway is for the Paul Tripp book because I had just put it on my wish list. 🙂
    Loved hearing your thoughts on it!

    Like

  3. Brenda says:

    Congrats on your new home!

    Like

  4. I want to win! I love you!!!

    Like

  5. Lindsey says:

    Yay for baking bread! I started making my own last year and it’s been wonderful. While I sometimes buy other bread products (getting rolls to rise has not gone quite as well), nothing beats the smell of bread right out of the oven!

    Choosing rest is so hard, but so important especially when we are parents using most of our energy to love little ones!

    Like

  6. Loved reading your update.

    Like

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