Now Compiling A List of Books I'll Read (or Cook from) in January

I can't help it.  I always think ahead.  It's Monday, so that just means I've looked at my planner, figured out what the week looks like, what we'll eat the next few days, and how full next weekend will be.  This morning was low-key because I know tomorrow will not be.  I'm thinking ahead to what I'll do for Christmas cards, what Thanksgiving will look like, and I can't help it, what books I'll get to next year.

Right now I'm trying to power through some books that have been in the queue for a long time now, and then I keep seeing new books coming out, and it's far more exciting to me than when I used to be excited about what movies were going to come out around the holidays.  Anyone else remember that?  We used to get excited knowing some really good movies would come out and you were sure to run into everyone at the movie theater.  Does this happen anymore?  I'm not sure when I saw a movie in the theaters last and thought it was really worth it.  Benjamin would argue that I just really don't like movies, but I still argue that they just aren't as good as they once were.

Anyways- I share this list with you- but I'm curious what's in your queue too?  Any novels? I find the disappointment potential is much higher for me when it comes to novels because I'm worried about things being a waste of my time. Truth.  :(  However- what have you read that you've really loved...and would recommend?

What I'm reading now:

Dance Stand Run- this book by Jess Connolly isn't your typical faith-building book.  It's going deeper and convicting me in ways that are hard but good.  I recommend it for honestly any woman, any age, any stage.  It's got a lot of Biblical truth in here and is a message I think we all need to hear.

What I want to Read:
Emily Ley's New Book:  A Simplified Life  If you haven't read Grace Not Perfection, I'm going to have to recommend that one first, then I think this will be a great follow up.  I'm excited to see how she dives in deeper here and know I need these reminders just a much as anyone else.  To me Emily helps us figure out how to thrive, not just survive, this season and culture and 2017/2018 world we live in.

Lara Casey's Book: Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life.  Are you sensing a theme there?  I don't read many parenting books (maybe I should) but for me Emily and Lara's books throw all the parenting things I need to know in there.  One parenting book I guess I will continue to pick up is Wild Things-- and then there's one about media and screens and kids-- I guess I'll read that one too but clearly I'm not right now since I can't remember the name of it.

Now onto Cooking:

The Simple Bites Kitchen-  I met Aimee at a food-writer-blogger situation five years ago!  Yikes.  She was super warm and down the earth and I know every recipe in this book is going to be delicious.  She's got kids and cooks with them and I'm envious of her canning and traveling and gardening, so I'm sure it'll help me with contentment too.  Insert sarcasm.

Mad Hungry Family.  I was gifted the Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys Cookbook years ago and we cook from it often.  It's healthy enough and has great short cuts and overall they have all been crowd pleasers.  I'm excited to see what this book is like because my life now is far past making meals that only serve 4!  

PW's New Book, Come and Get it.  I really shouldn't get this one- but it's super tempting because I love all the cookbooks right now with all the short cuts and wonder if I really could get into this mason jar cooking situation. 

How could I forget Pati.  All summer Anderson stayed up just a bit later than Tucker, and after Tucker fell asleep he'd come down and most nights we watched an episode of Pati.  I kinda want to give Anderson her cookbook - too much?! I don't think so... 

These are the things I think about.  Thrilling, I know.  What am I missing?  What's on your list?!

Accepting the Mom you're Not (And Embracing the One You Are)

 Something I love about getting older and being in this motherhood thing longer and longer, is the ability to let go and just embrace who I am.  I know more of the Mom I am and the friend I am and the wife I am than I did 6 years ago when I had my first.  Seasons change of course and I know someday I'll get back to stirring risotto for 45 minutes, my husband and I will go on more dates, and I'll have time to have lunch with friends, but for today, I'm all about Costco, freezer meals, and Amazon Prime. 

Nothing, I repeat nothing, is wrong with this.  If you're a paper plates Mom or an ordering out Mom- give yourself grace.  If your kids are healthy and happy and your marriage is surviving this demanding season, great.  If you are feeling fulfilled, awesome. If eating on paper plates is yelling at you, say no to something so you have time to do your dishes.

Awhile ago - probably a year ago?!- a working mama asked me how I do it (staying at home) and told me she didn't think she could.  I know that statement is a really loaded one, but let's just dissect a tiny thing that it made me think about.

It made me wonder if she thinks I have lunches packed the night before.  I wondered if she thinks I spend all morning reading to my kids, and if they never watch shows.  Does she think we attend every story time at the library and always have homemade meals on the table at 5?  Overall, it just made me wonder what her perception was, and if she wasn't giving herself enough grace for being a good mama, working one and all.

These words have been on my heart because I think it's a message us Mama's need to hear, and one I need to remind myself of too.  As we enter into this holiday season-- say no to some things.  Focus on what matters.  Plan to see friends.  Schedule things that matter to you.  Say no to things that suck your energy and aren't life-giving.  Be gracious to yourself.  Send Christmas cards, or don't.  But let's try to do this.  Let's not let the hustle whisk us away and miss these sweet years.  Let's not miss the babies and the toddlers and the expressions on their faces when they see Santa and snow and drink hot cocoa for the first time.  Let's let them throw leaves and jump in all the hay.  And then, let's bathe them and read them stories and not worry about all the pressures we put on ourselves, or society does, or for some people their families.  You're an adult mama.  Do what's best for you.  Feed your kids frozen meals.  Have date nights in.  Read a book.  Light a fire.  Don't worry about what parties you're invited to, and those you're not.   Growing up, though bittersweet for the little's, is pretty great for us.