Stop and reflect: October

One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall. The next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all.  – Bruce Cockburn

The start of October 2017 was full of tragedy. The world felt very dark. As the month went on, more cracks of light started shining through. Here’s some short reflections from the month:

Music: Switchfoot was my go-to (in particular, their Beautiful Letdown Album was my anthem for the month).

Reading: Rob Bell’s “What Is the Bible?”, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Autobiography & Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.”

Writing: examples of some of my thoughts shared on Instagram & Facebook that received meaningful feedback:

October 5th – on loneliness being the worst type of poverty
October 8th – a confession and encouragement
October 12th – on getting to know our literal neighbours
October 13th – on allowing people to change
October 19th – forgetting about numbers and helping one person at a time
October 29th – what the heart knows by heart, heals the heart

Travel: we took advantage of good weather days and did a couple day trips. The picture above was from visiting Brockville for the first time.

Theme: Today will soon be GONE (Switchfoot) & am I living scared or brave? The latter has been a new thought that arrived at the end of the month. Going to chew on that some more.

Tip: If you’re hungry for community, be willing to put yourself out there. Example: ask someone new to go out for coffee.  You just never know when it will be the start of something beautiful.

What was October like for you? Would love to hear your reflections. Ready or not, November is here. Together, we can face it and maybe even have some fun.

Book Review: Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton


I first found Glennon via her viral blog posts. “Dear Chase (Be Kind & Brave)” and the one about her choosing to be grateful for an outdated kitchen are my top favourites! Since I love her work, I was eager to get my hands on this book. And considering that I have a 40 minute commute (each way), the book on cd was the way to go.

First up, the positives. I really like and prefer for the author to read the book. I was very glad that she did this! Secondly, I was glad to finally hear her autobiography. This book gives a good overview of her life (although mostly focused in on the struggles). There are definate moments in the book where Glennon’s wisdom hits a home run. With all that she’s been through (bullemia, addiction, her husband’s affairs) it’s evident that her strength is nothing short of a warrior.

With all that said, I found parts of this book to be difficult to read. Some sections felt quite dark and the new agey message (i.e. you are your own god) didn’t sit right with me.

Turns out, this is a book that I don’t see myself reading again. I’d give it a 3/5. If for nothing else, I’m glad that I read it for the “stay on your mat” story in the book. I say those exact words to myself from time to time and it has been very helpful.

Did you read Love Warrior? What did you think?

Book Review: SEVEN (an experimental mutiny against excess) by Jen Hatmaker


Here’s the write-up for “7” taken from Jen Hatmaker’s website:


American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.


Our church book club read “7” by Jen Hatmaker several months ago. Jen’s a fairly well known Christian speaker/blogger/writer and this was the first book of hers that I read. If you follow her blog, this book has a similar tone and style. The premise of “7” is that Jen sets out to simplify her life from excess by eliminating certain items per month (over 7 months) and she reflects on the challenges and shares her insights along the way.

Our book club was a little divided on reviews. Most really enjoyed the book and were personally challenged. One didn’t like the writing style and Jen’s gregarious personality. With that said, everyone appreciated Jen’s heart and humility. We all loved certain stories she shared re: giving up their brand new boots, giving away her purses, and an Easter service for the homeless, etc. All of the ladies at book club agreed that it would have been nice to read  Jen’s thoughts and reflections a year after her experiment. Since this book was written while she was in the midst of eliminating an area of excess each month, we were curious what the long term changes for their family were. Overall, “7” was a worth while read that helps one to consider how much we waste, how much stuff we don’t really need, and how to better focus on what really matters.


Book Review: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Recently, I started a book club. I love to read but often forget to make time for it. Creating a book club seemed like the perfect solution. Our first book was “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. It came highly recommended and several thought that it would be a good one for our church book club. Well, it certainly was!

I wasn’t prepared for how wonderful, inspiring, sad, and unforgetable this book is. I fell in love with Corrie and her family. At times, I was amazed by the fact that a woman who died before I was born was influencing me so greatly. I believe that those who enjoy reading about history (in particular WW2) and those who want to be challenged in their faith will appreciate “The Hiding Place”. It definitely would fall in my top 10 books to read before you die, likely it would be in the top 5!

If you haven’t read “The Hiding Place” before, I highly recommend that you do. It will not leave you the same. You will be glad you looked past the cover and read the gold that lies between these pages.


Book Review: No Kidding

Hubby and I enjoy going to Chapters (a large book store in Canada). We grab a drink from Starbucks and look at books. A couple months ago, I came across “No Kidding” and it became the one that I browsed through whenever in Chapters. This collection of personal stories are short, easy to read, and thought provoking.

book-review-no-kidding-women-writers-on-bypas-L-NzEZ2vI opened this book expecting to read stories by women who are happy with their choice not to have children. To my surprise,  I didn’t find this book to be all positive re: being child-free. While some of the stories left me feeling neutral or encouraged, there were quite a few stories that left me feeling sad and discouraged. In some cases, I wasn’t convinced the author made the “right” choice to remain child-free. Some woman knew since they were a child that they did not want to raise children. Often, this early “knowing” was a direct result of a troubled childhood OR a mother who complained and/or looked miserable while raising them. Other women in this book placed their career as their “baby” and before they knew it, their possibility to have children biologically was nil as their egg supply was finito. There were others who called themselves “conservative or traditional” who didn’t have children as they held out for marriage and it never happened. These women were not willing to parent without an equally committed partner.

An encouraging theme through out the book was that regardless of the reason for remaining child-free, all of the woman feel that they are living a full life. None of these women are in a deep dark hole as a result of never having children. Some feel that not having children was the best thing they ever did. While others, not sure if it was the best idea, have come to terms with their reality. Even the select few who still experience some longing re: children (but its no longer a possibility) are mostly satisfied with their life. As a result of this book, I’m more aware of the variety of paths that lead a person to live child-free.  And encouraged that these authors are happily living their lives – whether they intended all along to be child-free or not.

Book Review: Kisses from Katie


This is the story of a well-to-do American girl who leaves her yellow convertible behind to live in Uganda for a year after high school. She ends up feeling that Uganda is home and stays (she later ends up adopting 13 girls).

Where to begin? I was looking for a book that may challenge me to grow in faith. Kisses from Katie did just that. This book is difficult for me to critique as it felt more like an experience than a book. I’d compare reading Kisses from Katie to going on a missions trip. Have you ever heard a person come back from a missions trip and say that they have a hard time explaining what it was like and how it changed them for the better? This is how I feel reflecting on Kisses from Katie.

Warning: this book may cause you to want to leave everything you know and live in a 3rd world country. At the very least, you may look at your own wealth and ability to help others in a new way. Katie states that she doesn’t want all of her readers to move to Uganda, rather, she wants us to see that there’s more we are capable of doing right where we are at. This is a book that was an experience that has left me wrestling. I highly recommend it!


Book Review: The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

Prior to picking up this book, I did not know much about Jessica Alba. Thus, this wasn’t a fan purchase. After being challenged to “eat clean” recently, I was desiring to learn more about living naturally in other areas of life.

ImageDisclaimer: if you already know A LOT about clean eating, non-toxic household cleaning products, what to avoid in your make-up products, and how to prepare a nursery and a home that’s safe for young children, then this book may be a little too boring for you.

For the majority of us, this book is eye opening and challenging. While I didn’t get a lot out of the healthy eating section (as I have been doing my own research recently), there are other chapters that Maybe I’m a little slow, but the fact that my make-up products could be toxic and cause me health problems never entered my mind prior to reading The Honest Life. (I looked up my trusty cover-up on the Environmental Working Group’s website and it came back as extremely toxic and may cause reproductive and developmental delays. Yikes! I am on the search for a new cover-up that both works and isn’t toxic). This book is a very user friendly resource. Even though I read it cover to cover, I will go back and re-read certain areas for a refresher or because I’m now ready to take on a new challenge.

I would recommend this book for any one who is willing to learn more about creating a healthy life + home. I would especially recommend this book for pregnant women or young mothers. Her tips will help the baby to have the best start in life and the mother to rest assured that she did all that she could to prevent harmful chemicals from influencing her baby’s development.

Overall, I’d give this book a 4 out of 5. The bummer is that a lot of her natural product recommendations are not available in Canada. While it can feel overwhelming at times with new found knowledge (ignorance is bliss!), it’s wonderfully assuring to know that we can make changes that create a lifestyle we can be proud of. I will keep this book around to reference in the future and I think that it would make an excellent baby shower present for the right mom!