Reading Dreams 2015: The Recap and what’s ahead


So, where should I start? Here’s my original post in which I was way too ambitious, but aren’t I always?

According to part of *that* list I wrote down:

√ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
√ Bel Canto by Ann Ratchet
√ Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Mary Stafford
{didn’t care for at all… just too…. ideal??}
√ Beautiful Ruins by Jess waters
{so-so. Not bad, just… didn’t quite hit me the right way}
√ Bossypants by Tina Fey
{ditto to just above}
√ Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1) by Diana Gabaldon
√ Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers
√ Gilead: A Novel by Marilyn Robinson
√ The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarity
The Invention of Wing by Sue Monk Kidd
The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home (started last year…)
√ 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch (book review book, started last year… need to finish ASAP)
Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does)by Scott Hahn

In addition I read a number of other books spread out throughout the year and mostly listed out monthly posts. (At last count I had 46 books read for the year, two more going right this second which I would *love* to finish before the end of the year, but we’ll just have to see… given the very full year we’ve had, I consider this a total win in the reading department 🙂 )

So… what’s in store of the upcoming year?

Well, I found this book club over at Deliberate Reader (which BTW, she has some great stuff, so if you like books and reading, etc… do go check her out), and I like the look of the books listed, so I think I’m going to try and do that.
* The Count of Monte Cristo (January – this was probably one of my favorite books when I was in my teens, but I’ve only ever read an abridged version. I’ve heard the unabridged is that much better, so I’m looking forward to it. And final note, since the discussions start in early January, I should probably begin reading, that being said, I probably won’t be contributing hugely to that discussion, but I’m still wanting to read the book and this is a good “excuse”)
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte CristoThe Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss by Tom Reiss (February)
The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok by Chaim Potok (March – I actually read this years ago… like maybe 15?… so technically a re-read)
Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel by Emily St. John Mandel (April)
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne by S. C. Gwynne (May)
* Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty by Liane Moriarty (June)
The Cuckoo’s CallingThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling by Robert Galbraith (July)
Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in IndiaClimbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey (August)
Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah Kent by Hannah Kent (September)
The Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (October)
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell (November)
The HobbitThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien (December, also a re-read, but… it’ll have been a while by the time we get here, so that’s ok)

In addition to that I really don’t know. I’ve had a vague idea for… years… that I would like to just start on one shelf of the bookshelf and read the books in the order they come up.

I doubt I’ll actually do *that*, but we have a new baby coming next year, and if it’s anything like the last time we had a new baby, I found it hard to read. Not that I found it hard to find time, in fact there seemed to be plenty of time to do actual reading, but I found it hard to read a paper and ink book while nursing (just can’t quite figure out how to easily hold book and baby *and* turn pages, especially if it’s heavy). So, if somehow I can arrange for all the books on my real wooden bookshelves to just get onto an electronic reading device {without paying any actual money}, we’ll be all set 🙂 .

That being said there are a few I really would like to try and get through (in no particular order):

* Les Miserable (still ~ I think I made it just about a quarter of the way before I stopped last time)
* In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
* The Rest of the Anne of Green Gables Series (I finished though book 3)
* Another book or two from the Outlander Series (I finished through book 3)
* The rest of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (call me weird, that’s fine, but it’s something I started this year and made it just about half way before I got off “schedule” and kinda just didn’t ever pick it up again ~ honestly the parts I read have been fascinating and I would really like to finish it.)


That’s my reading shtuffs I got for this “year end/new year” post. Simpler than last year? I hope so.

Book Review: A Single Bead


I had the opportunity recently to review this new young adult novel, A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman. It is published by Pauline Books and Media and set to release in January 2016.

It follows the story of Kate, a teen who lost her grandmother in a tragic accident. During a memorial service she happens upon a single bead from her grandmother’s rosary. Throughout the story she finds others who have found beads from the rosary and discovers that many miracles have occurred for those who’ve found them.

This story was surprisingly engaging. It flowed really well and was very thought provoking. Even though it was a work of fiction it definitely challenged my thinking on the power of praying the rosary. Personally, praying the rosary is a devotion which I go back and forth on. Once I begin and/or finish a rosary I find that I am much more at peace, as is Kate in the book. But the mental block to even starting one (and the excuses that come with it) can really be a big hurdle.

I would say the book is written with a young-middle teen audience in mind, but even though, I think sometimes we just need to hear things simply. Sometimes we have the tendency to over-complicate messages. The book does a great job of “showcasing” the power of prayer in a simple and easy to follow way.

A quote that I keep coming back to:

“I think all of this is reminding us that we’re all connected, and that even one single prayer – one Our Father or one Hail Mary – counts. That’s the power of a single bead.” {emphasis mine}

I love how this ties in – in a very real and tangible way – how each bead is more than “just a bead”, it’s a very powerful prayer. Which I have a tendency to forget in the day to day, and I’m glad for this book to remind me of. 🙂


I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.

Stephanie Engelman blogs over at A Few Beads Short or she can be found here on Facebook

Siblings {December}

siblings dec

We made it!!!!!! Managed to snap at least one photo of these four together every month…. I think… Let me check… Yup I got ’em all!

This picture was taken this evening at our annual go see the lights trip at the Shrine of La Salette.

Yes, it was “warm” and “soggy” (foggy) and No, Zachary isn’t wearing shorts. He was climbing all available stairs and having a blast getting muddy.

I’m looking forward to continuing this project next year, especially as we’re adding to the group. But it’s also been really fun to find moments when these guys are hanging out together (which basically is all the time). It’s also been fun seeing everyone, but especially Z grow bigger as this has been most of his first year.

If you’ve not tried this sort of project before I’d highly recommend. It’s not too hard, especially if you don’t expect 100% perfect studio quality results every time. But I’ve found in looking back that it’s just so nice to see them together, in their messy, every day, real-life world. And to be honest, I’ve found that cell phone snap shots have sometimes been the perfect thing 🙂


This post is part of a project to take at least one photo a month of them all together. Intro’s here

dear beautiful

November Reads and BW weekend throwback

summer throwback-2

summer throwback

Because really, we can all use a little reminder of summer once the weather starts turning chillier 🙂 {Plus I just found these photos again today…. so, thought I’d share here}

{Linking these up for Weekend in Black and White}

My very, very short non-diversified list of reads for November…

Delaney: a Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
In a nutshell this has two of my favorite components for a fun read: Memoir and Foodie Book.

This continues the story of Molly’s first book (A Homemade Life) a follows the beginnings of Delancy, the restaurant opened by Molly and her husband. A fun read, filled with recipes and real life. 🙂 I think that’s what makes the memoirs good, sharing that life isn’t perfect, but still can be great if you allow it!

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Critic by Ruth Reichl
The author was food critic for the New York Times, and this book chronicles her time spent there. So much fun to read. She literally goes in disguise while she is visiting restaurants for review. She really discovers who she is through these disguises. And her description in writing… oh. my. goodness. I never would have thought that reading two or three pages describing one meal would be fun to read, but I was captivated.


And that’s all I’ve got for the evening. 🙂

Advent ~ week 2


Good Thursday evening folks. Just a quick little check in with how our Advent has gone this past week. I’m joining in the Theme Thursday #holylens linkup (link at the end of the post), so those photos are spread throughout. {If you’re not familiar with #holylens, it’s a daily photo prompt based on the daily readings from scripture ~ search it out on Instagram or FB}


Our St Nicholas Day celebration went off just fine. The kids kept reminding/asking me when/if it was *THE* day yet, so I had a hard time forgetting. We usually do real simple: Shoes out by the fireplace and in the morning they have a candy cane, some chocolate gold coins (however I can split one of those mesh bags evenly, usually 3-4 pieces) and a new Christmas-y book to continue building our collection. This year I decided to also give them their ornament at this time.


Some real moments for your enjoyment:
* Zachary’s book didn’t come (ordered too late… still waiting for it to arrive)
* Karl’s book did come (but not until today, Thursday… I wrapped up a library copy for him to open)
* None of the ornaments were completed. Three of them are now, and Zachary’s will be done as soon as I sit down and finish it.

Note for next year: Order the books before November.

And that’s about it. I usually have a picture book of St Nicholas Stories, but I forgot to get one from the library.


As far as daily happenings in the Advent reading department, we’re doing them as we’re able. I try to read at least one Christmas-y book per kiddo out loud. Sometimes they get in a few more. We’re also reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which I’m loving (I’ve read it numerous times), but I’m not sure if the kids are getting anything out of it. They do sit quietly and listen though.


Prayer while lighting the candles:

O God, as light comes from this candle, may the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us, warming our hearts and brightening our way. May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of this world, and to us, as we wait for his coming.

I don’t remember where I found this one, but when I first said it last week it was on a morning where I was… shall we say…. more than a little grumpy. And my heart was definitely in a cold spot, but I said the prayer and it was like a little shining light of hope, that we can make it through the hard days.


Very briefly, I just barely made it to Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The options for our parish were lunch/nap time, dinner time, or bed time (in Spanish). If I wasn’t pregnant I would have ventured to take the kids by myself, but I just can’t handle them all for even a short service. Anyways, I found a “bilingual” Mass at another parish and made that one after rushing through a few things.

I felt so weird being there, because most everyone was Spanish. But I just keep thinking there had to be a reason for me to be there. It was a beautiful service. I had never been to a regular Spanish Mass (been to Easter vigil and a few weddings), but this was different. I was really able to see a lot of love for Our Lord. Especially when Father held up the Body and then the Blood, he just held it up, and people began praying in tongues. Now, I don’t have the gift of tongues, and I have rarely seen it outside of a Charismatic (non-Catholic) church, but I just felt, if ever there was a moment for the Holy Spirit to come upon people, why not THAT moment? Felt chills for sure.


Have a blessed third week of Advent folks!


Linking with Micaela @ California to Korea {also if you’re on Instagram check out #holylens, or feel free to do so on FB} and with Like Mother, Like Daughter