12.4.19

a day in HER life - Laura Wifler

Hi friends! My name is Laura Wifler. I’m the co-founder and Executive Director of Risen Motherhood, a nonprofit ministry that brings gospel-hope to moms. I’m a wife to Mike and momma to three young children, Eli (6), Colette (4), and Eden (21 months) and we live in middle of the cornfields of central Iowa.


My days start pretty early—I typically wake up around 4:30 a.m. I get dressed, but don’t do my hair or makeup. I just shuffle downstairs to grab a cup of coffee. I bring the entire coffee carafe with me into the library as I camp out for nearly three hours each morning, and I’m too lazy to go back to the kitchen for refills. I always start with Bible study. Right now I’m in Precepts at my local church, which means I’m sitting at the table, rather than the big overstuffed chair in the corner. I spread out my papers and pens and start underlining and researching.

After about 30-45 minutes, I switch to work. As the ED of R|M, I do a bit of everything. Most people know me as the co-host of the weekly Risen Motherhood podcast, but that’s only a small part of my job. This morning, I answer emails, create a new webpage for our new book releasing in September, rework and edit the content calendar, look over contracts and tax forms, and edit a few documents.


By 7:15 a.m. my kids are up and we start moving to get ready for school. I finish getting ready while my older kiddos get dressed and brush their teeth. I like to keep breakfast as easy as possible, so today we have left over biscuits. My sister-in-law, Becca, is also my neighbor and she brought them over for dinner last night. To my children’s delight, we slather them in raspberry jam and they gobble them up. Each morning we do a family devotional together during breakfast. Right now we’re working though “What Every Child Should Know About Prayer,” by Nancy Guthrie. We talk through 3-4 pages at a time and my kids love it.


From there we leave for school. My son is in kindergarten and my middle daughter is in preschool for three hours, two mornings a week. My youngest, Eden has special needs, but I have a rare day where she has no therapy, so we head out on some errands. I drop off tax documents at the account (I’m writing this in March, so I have an unusual amount of tax work—thank goodness that’s not normal!), swing through Target for a birthday present, and pick up some groceries.


Eventually, we’re back at the school to pick up Colette, then we head home for lunch. Afterward, the girls and I play for a bit together. I try to make this intentional time, so I put my phone on silent in a drawer so I’m not tempted to look at it. We read, play pretend farm animals and princesses, and chase the balls from Eden’s favorite toy, her ball popper.


(I promise they don’t normally play with bike helmets on. We recently received them as hand-me-downs, so the girls are very into them today.)

Soon, both girls go down for a nap. While I like to maximize this time as much as possible, I also try to read 20 minutes or so of a book at the very beginning of nap time. Slowing down is hard for me in every area of life, and this practice reminds me that I don’t need to move so fast. So most days, in the middle of the toys and mess, I sit and read.

 

Next, it’s back to work. But before I do, I pull some dough out of the fridge to make crusty bread for dinner tonight. It’s an easy thing to make while I work, and it gives me a few forced mental breaks as I keep it moving through the rising and baking process. When I sit back down to the computer in the library, I do all sorts of things. Today I’m working on outlining a new video project to promote the book, writing a blog post for our upcoming pledge drive in April, and outlining the next show for the podcast that my sister-in-law, Emily, and I will record in a couple weeks. Side note: A lot of people wonder if our shows are scripted. They’re not, but they are heavily outlined. We never practice before we record, but we have thought through the material ahead of time and written the main points down. Which means the show really is a conversation, just like it sounds.


Soon the girls wake up. Colette changes her outfit (she gets one outfit change a day) and I give my youngest daughter her medication. Quickly, we’re out the door to pick up my son from school. When we’re all back home again, I start soup for dinner while the three kids play together. Today Eli and Colette have rediscovered their boogie boards, so I’m enjoying a few minutes actually hearing the music I’m playing while I cook. (And no, I didn’t pose them like this.)

 

My husband gets home around 5:45 p.m. and we have dinner soon after. We typically clean up the kitchen together, then he goes upstairs to wrestle with and read to the kids. Eden goes down first around 6:30 p.m., then the bigs go down a bit after 7 p.m. I prep coffee for the morning and make lunches for Mike and Eli, then head to the couch.

Typically I do something more “personal” in the evening, and tonight it’s finally making Eden’s one year photo album, which is nearly a year overdue. When my husband comes down, we chat for a little bit about our days, swapping stories and talking schedules. Then we watch a few episodes of the Office. We’re rewatching it as we haven't seen it since our college days—which means it’s basically all brand-new to us! I forgot how funny it is! At 9:30 p.m. we head upstairs. I read a chapter of another book, we pray together, and it’s lights out for the day.


It’s a crazy life, but I love it. Everyday is different, but I’m thankful for the flexibility my job affords and the gift it is to be able to do what I love, while still be home with my children most of the day. If you’d like to follow along and see more peeks of my life, check out www.laurawifler.com, or on Instagram, @laurawifler.

4.4.19

Storage in the Kid's Room (+ a few other changes there!)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we've been struggling a wee bit in the kid's shared room. It's a good sized room, but when you add three growing kids and all of their books, toys, art, collections, clothes... it's a bit packed, even for this minimalist fam. For the last year or so I've had a long white bench in their room (you can see it in this post) that housed a few things on top and a few baskets underneath.

I love a good basket (can't leave a thrift store without one apparently!), but I felt their room was starting to feel cluttered with so many baskets on the floor. We had them everywhere! Holding Calico Critters, books, Playmobil, doll clothes, and more. And if when the kids mixed up the contents, having separate baskets was no longer helpful and clean up became even more work (and this Enneagram 1 was having none of it!).



I started shopping around for something larger and with closed storage (drawers!) because the many baskets and open storage was starting to feel too cluttered for one bedroom with three crazy kids. Most dressers I found were far too big for their space, but when I looked for small dressers they were all too small (like three shallow drawers). I started to feel like Goldilocks, especially when I found a dresser that was juuuuuuust right! 

I found this white campaign-style dresser at Goldtex, a family-owned business here in Montreal. Because it's designed for a child's room, it's not overly bulky, but honestly, we'll use this piece until our kids are grown, and it could work in an adult's bedroom (or maybe even living space!) too. For apartment living and kid's spaces, huge furniture just doesn't work, but most smaller-scale furniture is cheaply made and doesn't seem solid in my opinion. This piece really fits exactly what we've been looking for. Solid, large enough to provide ample storage, but not too bulky in our small space. I love it!



We gave each kid their own drawer and it's been hilarious watching them fill it with their own precious things (plus lots of their personal toys that were crowding up their room). In the other three drawers I put small boardgames and card games, Calico Critters, and Playmobil. The room feels way less cluttered and I'm glad to have the bench back in the dining room. 

Spy any other changes? The British pillow is probably my favourite thing in our house haha! It was $4 at a thrift store and I couldn't not get it. I wondered what Brad would think since he's certainly no Anglophile and loves to mock my love for all-things British on a daily basis, but even he likes it! I think having the Quebec flag + map and two globes in their room helped me make the argument that it was just one of many cultures being represented ;)



This post was in collaboration with Goldtex.
All views are 100% my own.
To book a collab, contact me

2.4.19

Books I Read 03/19

With March Break this month and three additional days off school, I was with my littles quite a lot this month! We had many moments of snuggling up with our favourite books, but also a lot of time spent out and about, so I'm not sure if I had extra time or less than usual time this month to actually read. I guess we'll see based on what I finished this month!



C S Lewis - A Life by Alister McGrath

This was a long biography that I listened to on Christian Audio and was able to knock back thanks to a March Break drive to and from Ontario. The kids, knowing who C S Lewis is, didn't mind it on in the background of our drive, though I doubt they enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. It was very detailed covering the world and British history around his life (Irish politics, WWI, etc.), his personal life, and his works. I loved hearing about his relationship with J R R Tolkein so much that ti spurred me to give The Lord Of The Rings a second try. When I first watched the movies ten years ago I was heavily pregnant with Lily and not interested at all. I was couch-bound so Brad asked me to give them a go, since he loves them so. Well, at the time I hated them - too violent! not my genre! too medieval! All I can say is if this biography did nothing else, it opened the door to LOTR and for that I'm thankful. I'll aim to read LOTR this summer, but it's all thanks to the impressive life of C S Lewis and this biography that primed me. Seriously though, Lewis was a fascinating man who I very much respect and I loved reading about his life in more detail.

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

I read this simultaneously with Oli, and I don't mind saying he finished before I did! As I was finishing he also finished Jo's Boys which I'll be reading most of this month and probably won't finish until next month. You know when you read a great book and grieve that it's over? That was me after Little Women last month, and lo and behold, Little Men was the perfect cure. I love seeing Jo grow up to be a mother and headmistress of Plumfield School For Boys (and later Girls too!). Back in January, I said Marmee was Mom Goals, but I need to add that Jo, or Mother Beahr, absolutely is too. This book is full of harsh realities, faithful friendship, and saccharine hope. I usually don't like a book of just one or two of these themes, but all three together is perfection. Alcott's writing is lovely but she never shies away from hard themes such as poverty and death. I think the best children's literature faces these realities with care for their reader, but faces them nonetheless. I guess that's why Louisa May Alcott is one of the greats in children's literature! I finished this with tears streaming down my face while the kids were at tennis one Saturday and was so wrapped up in the book world that I didn't realize how I probably looked (comepletely distraught), until a kind fellow parent asked, Madame, Ça va? Oh yes, just a great book, haha!

A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This was one of the Daily Deals on Audible so I grabbed it this month when I saw it on sale for under $5 (remember, most audiobooks are over $30 normally so this is a huge way to save). Our first big trip as a family of five was to Copenhagen if you recall, and Denmark left a beautiful impression on us as an extremely beautiful, modern, and family-friendly place. Having been to Denmark and loving this sort of book in general (those here's-what-I-learned told from the first person and delving into culture sorts), I really enjoyed this book. It's narrated beautifully but at times was a little drawn out. If you have read French Women Don't Get Fat or Bringing Up Bebe, it's similar to those (and I loved those both as well!).

Five Things To Pray For Your Kids by Melissa Kruger

This month I was lucky enough to receive some gifted books from The Good Book Company, one of the publishers I read the most. The other books pictured above were also from The Good Book Company and I'm still working through those, so keep an eye out for those summaries in the months to come.  Melissa Kruger is one of my favourite TGC ladies, having listened to her speak many times and enjoyed countless articles of hers over there. It is concise and to the point (perfect for a busy parent) and very helpful. If you ever struggle to pray authentically and purposefully with and for your children, this book will help you and not overwhelm you. I pray with my kids on the way to school each morning, before every meal, and before bed, but still I fall into rote prayers sometimes. This book reminded me of the many things I could be intentionally praying for and has enriched my prayer life! I also really loved how it was a small book and quick read. A busy mom's dream!

20.3.19

What Do Your Kids Call Their Grandparents?

I'm always so curious to find out what names for grandparents other families use. How did you come up with the names, who chose them, and which names stuck (kids are notorious for nicknaming grandparents I've learned!)?


When I was pregnant with Lily we put it to the grandparents (all six of them in our case). What would they like to be called? I had my hidden hopes, but ultimately I do believe it's the decision of the grandparents to choose the name they'll be called. I think that's what I'll want if the day comes when I have grandchildren, so it seems fair. Plus we already get to choose baby's name. Ultimately, it feels like a way to honour our parents and give them that power as they step into a new role as well. 


My parents began as Grandma and Grandpa - the names we grew up using for my dad's parents. I liked the familiarity, but it didn't stick. Before long my dad was being called Papa by the kids and so it stuck, and then when my sister's kids started talking, my niece started calling my mom Mimi, thus Grandma and Grandpa became Papa and Mimi. Brad's mom and her husband Bruce created their names - Granna and Papa Bo (B O for his initials) and they've stayed the same ever since. Brad's dad and his wife Deb chose the names Papa and Nana Deb, but my father-in-law became Papa Jim (because they kept saying "Papa what?" to match Nana Deb). 

And am I the only one who's thought about what they'd like to be called if they ever become grandparents? I know I know, my kids are 5, 7, and 8, so it's not something to really wonder at for another two decades, but I've full on decided, haha! I want to be Granny, like my mom's British grandmother was :)

12.3.19

SHOP QUEBEC - Lou Wolf

As one of the only Quebec retailers that carries some of my favourite European brands, and often marked down to up to 50% off, Lou Wolf is certainly a must mention in my SHOP QUEBEC series. I first discovered Lou Wolf online, but later learned that it's a local business, based in my own neighbourhood! Run completely from their Plateau Condo, Lou Wolf carries pieces which are not only playful and unique but extremely high quality and ethically made. 

Oli in a Whistle & Flute, Lily in Hugo Loves Tiki, and Clover in Mini Rodini, all from Lou Wolf.

Most of the brands are difficult if not impossible to find in shops in Canada, but I recognize from our trips to Europe. The thing with these admirable brands is that they're often way beyond our budget, but that's why I am especially fond of Lou Wolf - they have insane sales!! Every day in Instagram stories, Lou Wolf posts a few pieces that they'll offer at a deep discount for one day only. We're talking Mini Rodini, Hugo Loves Tiki, Huxbaby; often at almost half their retail value. 

They ship everywhere (I've already had Instagram followers let me know they've ordered from all over the USA), but local shoppers will have their packages delivered by bike messenger. Swoon! Their packaging is eco-friendly too. Check out this fun kid's shop on Instagram and online!

This post was in collaboration with Lou Wolf,
a shop I love for my own children. 
All opinions are 100% my own. 
To book a collaboration, contact me

9.3.19

Books I Read 02/19

As suspected, I didn't have as much time to read this month as I did in January (I miss you Christmas holidays!), so I finished fewer books than last month, but some gems nonetheless!


A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

This book was such a pleasure. It was a very light read - one you can pick up out of nowhere and get into easily - but still transported you to the world of the author, which I think only the best books do well. I felt like I was in Provence as I read this book, and boy do I long to go back after having finished it. We have actually been to the exact place Mayle writes of (Aix-en-Provence in the Luberon Region) and it's exactly as splendid as he describes. The author is British so two fancies were met in one book for this French-living Anglophile. He compared their southern French life to that of busy London, and writes like a true Brit, so I obviously enjoyed those aspects immensely, but how he writes of France you can't help but fall in love with the food, the customs (even the frustrating ones!), the language, in short, all things French. He has several other books about their years in Provence and I can't wait to get my hands on them in due course. 

The Livegiving Table by Sally Clarkson

This was a natural followup from last month's The Livegiving Home by the same author, and I enjoyed it just as much. It's not a deep theological read, it's lifestyle meets hospitality meets recipes meets encouragement from the word. A really lovely read and really spurred me on in setting the table of fellowship and discipleship before my children, friends, and neighbours. Clarkson says again and again, "it's not what's on the table, it's what happens at the table" to remind us that it's not about homemade bread or a perfectly laid table (though those things are wonderful and add beauty and comfort to our lives!) but about making the most of mealtimes and using food and drink to bring merriment and welcome. 

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan 

I've wanted to read this books for a very long time after having heard countless historical Christians state it as one of the most influential books in their lives. Queen Elizabeth II says it opened her eyes to true religion and read it to the world on her first Christmas Broadcast. Charles Spurgeon gave it away liberally, including to his wife Susie, who credits it as having won her to Jesus. It was written in 1675 and is one of the most published books in history, and still today I have to say, it's a treasure. The story of Pilgrim, later named Christian, as he journeys to the celestial city encountering all numbers of snairs and evils on the way is an allegory for the Christian life. It's poetic and pointed and goes to show how there really is nothing new under the sun. The same challenges we face today, at their core, were the same 350 years ago, and long before that. I listened to this book on Christian Audio and delighted in every word! I will say it was a bit hard to follow at times if I wasn't giving the audiobook my full attention. I highly recommend the audiobook over the paper copy simply because there are so many characters to keep track of, and the performer does a great job giving them all distinct voices to help you differentiate. 

28.2.19

Storing + Valuing Kid's Curiosities in a Small Space

With three kids to a room I have a lot of trouble keeping EVERYTHING minimal. Without the space for various dressers, we put everything in their shared closet and keep capsule wardrobes. Without the space for three beds, we use the triple bunk leaving the footprint of just one. But when it comes to art work and curiosities, I am sometimes at a loss. They come home from school with handfuls of art weekly and we seem to continually be collecting little trinkets that are "so special" to them. Keeping these in order and deciding what to keep has been a continuous learning process and work in progress, but we have developed a few systems that help a lot!


With art, we take digital copies of things they really like and then recycle them. Pieces the kids really love get hung on the wall in their room for a week or so and then we swap them out for the next batch of art.The very rare piece that we all love and attach meaning to might be framed, maybe. With a small rope to hang art on, they can see the limited space and don't insist on keeping everything. Minimalism in a larger home would be a challenge because you don't have the built in excuse that we did: we simply don't have the room! 

With little trinkets, models, figurines, etc, we needed a plan because I swear ours were mating! Especially when one of our kid's has a particular interest such as Lily right now with horses and Chloe with owls, penguins, and cats, those figurines hold special value. In the past I might have been more cut throat with their little curiosities as their interests changes with the weather, but at my kid's ages (5.5, 7.5, 8.5) they are maintaining interests for longer seasons now (years!) so I want to value them out of respect for them.


Having a set spot for things you're going to store really helps things stay minimal, because in theory, as the space runs out, the things must stop coming (or be traded for new things). With the help of the kids, I decided on a random number of stuffed animals last year, so every time the kids want a new stuffed animal (basically every visit to a thrift store this comes up!) they have to decide if they want it enough to replace one they already have. We don't just add on to infinity, we swap out, donate, and maintain the same numbers. Same goes with trinkets. Now that I have this little shelf, they know they can fill it with special things in their three shelves each, but they will need to donate something to make room for new items if at some point they have the hankering. The shelf was a thrifted find for under $4 and I love how it limits what we keep, while still valuing their little collections of special things. 

8.2.19

Thrifting Inspo + Some New Friends

As I mentioned in a post last month, I've been keen to make Instagram worth my while and as such have stopped following loads of accounts that either made me feel frustrated, left me playing the comparison game, or didn't spur me on. I'm not saying all of life needs to be this way. In real life, there are hard people we need to love and bear with and stick by. Relationships take work and aren't easy. But this is an app, people. It's supposed to serve us, or it's not worth our time.

courtesy of @kimberly.stavros
I've been a life long thrifter, but I realized I didn't follow many people on Instagram who build their wardrobes and beautify their homes by shopping secondhand. So, last week I set out to find them. By searching a few thrift-centric hashtags I found a truly lovely group of ladies, and in keeping with my idea that Instagram needs to be interactive to be worthwhile, I reached out to all of them! The odd account didn't get back to me, but the vast majority wrote back with enthusiasm and since then we've been messaging one another and enjoying one another's accounts. 

courtesy of @houseonchestnut
I think we need to follow people that encourage and inspire us, but I realized I had been following one too many accounts with designer outfits and high end homes for my liking. This is personal, and you may not be like me, but I do find I'm influenced by the things I see and hear. Following more local and affinity accounts has helped me take back the 'gram in a sense. 

I'm looking for more Montreal accounts, more Canadian accounts, more accounts by women doing hard things, serving God, investing joyfully in their families, getting courageous in the kitchen, reading rich literature, and creating lovely homes from secondhand treasures. Almost no account covers all of these affinities, but any one of these topics is what excites me and makes the app fun again. 

Here are the women I've started following recently in the thrifting category. Check them out! 

6.2.19

Kondo-ing My Kid's Shared Closet

We've all watched the show, read the book, seen the memes, and heard the phrase "spark joy", but have you attempted the folding techniques? I hadn't! I've been purging items as a self-proclaimed minimalist for the last three years or so, so when Marie Kindo came on the scene, it was more been-there-done-that than life-changing, but recently I employed her folding techniques not only for my own drawers but also for my three kids' shared closet and I have to say, it's glorious!


After only keeping clothing that you truly love and wear, you still may have cluttered drawers. In our case, it's not because we own too many items (read more about our kid's capsule wardrobes here), but because we have very limited storage space. With three kids in one bedroom, sharing one closet (and no other clothing storage such as a dresser), even our petite wardrobes feel chaotic sometimes.


Last week I tried Marie Kondo's folding style to display every piece of clothing and not only did it save a ton of space, but it's also made choosing outfits a breeze. My kids typically grab the tops and bottoms on the top of the piles in their drawers, so they cycle through the same three outfits (basically the amount of time it takes dirty clothes to be cleaned and returned) unless I intervene. I was so frustrated that my favourite pieces they own wouldn't be worn, and sometimes outgrown before much use. The folding solves that!



 (from the top: Oli's drawers, Lily's drawers, Chloe's drawers)

I found the kid's bottoms in particular took up so little of their drawer space with this new folding style that for the girls I was able to incorporate their dresses and skirts too (except the dressier pieces that I didn't want to wrinkle), leaving a ton of extra hanging space for out of season outerwear, halloween costumes, etc. 

Our kids all share one drawer for their socks and underwear, one drawer for their pyjamas, and they each have two personal drawers; one for tops, another for bottoms. It's not a lot of space, even for a child, but with this new folding it feels like more than enough. I love seeing some new variety in their clothing choices too! And before you think I'm crazy, I promise, this doesn't take more time than regular folding! Seriously it's a matter of folding maybe once more per item, so seconds are added. And surprisingly, the kids haven't destroyed their drawers! In fact, this method seems easier for them to keep tidy than when I used to put folded laundry in stacks. Go figure. 

1.2.19

Books I Read 1/19

Every year I've tried different methods of tracking what I read but I always get lost somewhere in July and the rest is history. I loosely keep track of the thirty or so books I read each year, but I want a better system, so now I'll be doing a quick monthly blog post about the books I've read and my brief impressions. Each month I'll write about the books I've completed that month, which may mean I began them the following month. I also include audiobooks here, even though I still prefer turning real paper pages. Audiobooks are brilliant for people who spend any length of time in transit, commuting to work, running errands, etc. I buy most of my audiobooks from the Daily Deals e-mail which I receive daily from Audible. I'm not actually an Audible member, but you don't have to be to receive their daily e-mails. I'd say once per month they have an excellent classic (such as Jane Austen's Northhanger Abbey narrated by Emma Thompson) for under $5. I also use Christian Audio which also has incredible sales (most books I own from there were $7 or less) as well as a free audiobook every month. You can be a member at Christian Audio, but it's not the route I've taken since their sales are so good. 

For those who want to make reading a more substantial part of lives, check out this article I wrote last year, Reading for Pleasure + How to Get There. I didn't grow up as an avid bookworm and aside from mandatory texts for my degree and the odd book to grow in my faith, I didn't read, and certainly never just for fun. Everything changed after having Chloe when I found myself with three children under the age of three in desperate need of self care. With so many small children, I was rather house bound, which brought me to the fork in the road between endless television, or cultivating a love for reading. Happily, in the winter of 2014, I picked up a novel, and the first great work of fiction I'd probably ever read (for those wondering, it was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer). I was hooked. 


Here's what I finished reading in January, 2019

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I started reading Jane Eyre in December 2018 with my Book Club and finished it just in time for our meeting on the first week of January. It wasn't my favourite Bronte book but it was still beautiful to read (and listen to - I actually did both simultaneously). I found Jane hard to like as a protagonist, though I admired her boldness, courage to stick with her convictions, and generosity of spirit even after being so hard done by in her early life. The book pushes the reader to consider how our morals interface with our desires, as in Lord Rochester’s desire to marry Jane, to consider if we might face death as bravely as Helen Burns, and if we could forgive a cousin like John, and for that it’s an excellent book club read (such good discussions!) as well as a thought provoking personal study. I watched the 2011 film before reading the book and have promised myself I’ll never make that mistake again – always always read the book first!

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry

I have admired Jackie Hill Perry for a few years and saw her speak in person last summer. I first chose to buy this audiobook on Christian Audio simply because of my respect for the author as a poet and writer, not because of the subject, though she shares her personal story, laced with Biblical truth with incredible depth and beauty. She is best known as a spoken word poet, which made the audiobook an obvious choice as its read by Jackie HillPerry herself. She doesn’t just read, she performs. It’s not just a book, it’s historical biography, profound apologetics, and a theology text book all in one. Highly recommend.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I started this book between Christmas and New Years and fell hard, fast, for those charming March sisters. I absolutely loved their antics, which reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, but multiplied by four – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. These characters are so sweet it hurts, but they aren’t one dimensional. They still have great sorrows, taste death, experience jealousy, and require forgiveness. I loved that the book took place over many years and we got to see the girls grow into women, eventually leaving Marmee’s nest for a world of their own. Lily had since read the Jr. Classics version of Little Women and Oli is on the second half of the official version and we all agree – it’s a delight. I rewarded myself with the 1994 film adaptation which was on Netflix over Christmas once I’d finished the book and have to say I was hugely disappointed. Laurie was all wrong, Marmee wasn’t nurturing and warm enough, and many of the best bits were left out. There’s a new movie coming out this year though, so I’m interested to see how it goes!

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.


I listened to this Audiobook for part of December and into January, including part of my leg of driving to Ontario. It was beautifully written and lengthy, but every detail seemed worthy. I love biographies and especially those of people I can somehow relate to. Though Susannah Spurgeon was married to a renowned man and did more good than I'll ever do, she was also a simple pastor's wife and passionate church planter, so I drew particular inspiration from that. I love how as a new believer, her pastor, Charles Spurgeon who would many years later become her husband, gave her The Pilgrim's Progress to help her in her fledgling faith journey. That's one of the reasons that I'll be reading that work next month (ps - it's the FREE book of the month with Christian Audio for those who want to read - or listen - along with me)

The Life-giving Home by Sally Clarkson

I just finished this book under the wire and really enjoyed it. Over all, the book gives a lofty vision for what home can be – a refuge from the world, a place for belonging and becoming. I’m inspired by Sally Clarkson to make my home such a place for our children but also guests, friends, and neighbours. Having read The Gospel Comes With A House Key by Rosaria Butterfield last summer, hospitality has been on my mind in recent months, so this book was a natural choice. I’ve loved Sally Clarkson’s parenting books over the years, but appreciate how she turns the focus on the home. It’s co-authored by her eldest daughter Sarah, and I found myself especially liking Sarah’s chapters as an adult who lived through a home experience like what’s written about in the book. Some parts of the books interested me less because they were heavy on examples from their home, which in many ways won’t fit with the Morrice family or our rhythms. Clarkson is quick to note that not every example will work for every reader, and that their interests and favourites aren’t prescriptive for the audience, so it didn’t irk me, I just wasn’t underlining those parts very often.  I still recommend it and learned a lot!

5 books down for 2019! And a stack awaits me for February. I'll report back soon :)