Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge -- COMPLETED!

I am borrowing (and slightly adapting) the 2015 Reading Challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy. This list will be updated throughout the year.

A book from your childhood: Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

A book you chose because of the cover: The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly by Doug Stewart

A book recommended by someone with great taste: I am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer

A book “everyone” has read but you: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

A book you've been meaning to read: Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

A book originally written in another language: Mazli by Johanna Spyri

A book you should have read in high school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A book your mom loves: Who Switched Off My Brain by Caroline Leaf

A book that's currently on the bestseller list: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

A book your dad loves: Alfred the Great: The Man Who Made England by Justin Pollard

A book in a genre you don't typically read: King Lear by William Shakespeare

"Bonus" Uncategorized Books:

Plus, more picture books than I can count.

"More Stories from Grandma's Attic" by a New Favorite Author

It is the last day of the year, and I am posting the final review to complete my 2015 reading challenge. Just in time! The final category to fill is "A book by a favorite author" -- an easy one certainly.

But, it wasn't.

I chipped away at Jane Austen's Selected Letters for most of the year, but I still haven't read it cover to cover. Then, my sister gave me a beautiful copy of Mere Christianity on the last day of November, and I thought it would be the perfect choice. Only, December is an incredible month full of gatherings with friends and family, shopping, wrapping presents, baking, and my favorite tradition, the daily lighting of the Advent candles as my family read, prayed, and sang together before putting the children to bed.

And, in all this, I finished reading a book. It was easy, simple, fun, and wholesome. I think I was holding a drowsy toddler in a dark room during the middle of the night when I happened to come across the last page on my lighted Kindle screen. More Stories from Grandma's Attic was written by my newest favorite author, Arleta Richardson. I read the first book in her Grandma's Attic series earlier in the year as a bonus book that didn't fit neatly into any of the 13 categories of the reading challenge. Five months later, I can say confidently that Arleta Richardson is a favorite author. Her stories are memorable and sweet. I return to them over and over again in my mind. A good book doesn't have to be deep, long, or intended for a mature audience. I find my favorites were often intended for children.

Arleta Richardson's approach of remembering her childhood and the stories her grandmother told about her own childhood -- going back much more than a century -- appealed to me in every way. The good news is that there are more books by Richardson to discover.

Have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Family Update!

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas from the Pruett Family! The joy of the season can be captured in Anna's exclamation from the back seat of our mini-van, “Look! Lights! They are getting ready for Christmas!” She loves that people all over our little city are coming together to decorate for Christmas.

Our family in the light of the candle on the first Sunday of Advent

Looking back over 2015, some of it was good and some of it was very difficult. We are so thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that He was with us through it all. We can see His hand at work in our lives in so many ways. Among other things, we were able to travel to the San Antonio, Texas, area in June for a family reunion with the descendants of Elizabeth's great grandparents Lawrence and Marjorie Moore. The year was also full of many other family get-together with extended family on both Zachary and Elizabeth's sides of the family, and our relationships in our church family have continued to deepen.

Zachary's work has undergone several changes in the last twelve months. He was content with his job and wasn't looking for another. Still, he was blessed to receive a job offer from Mertz Manufacturing to work in their IT department. He is now their Network Administrator. Mertz and the people there have been such a blessing to us. It is exciting for Zachary to be doing the computer work he loves all the time instead of being divided in several directions. In his spare time, Zachary takes the family to the zoo and has developed an interest in golf. He can be found practicing his swing in all weather and during all hours of the day. Anna and John have both picked up the sport with him and have a blast with their miniature plastic clubs.

Elizabeth's year was full of chasing after John, reading with Anna, and playing with them both. John prefers peekaboo and can now find his nose. Anna enjoys painting, pretending to be anything from a duck to a bear, and baking. This was the gingerbread year. Two gingerbread homes and a church with stained glass windows were decorated this Christmas season, and the year isn't over yet! Elizabeth's involvement at church and in several genealogy/lineage societies keeps her active in the community. She is tweaking her family tree, discovering new ancestors, and finding photographs of old ones. A whim and her desire to be a lifelong learner led Elizabeth to begin studying Swedish – the language spoken by her most recent immigrant, John Peterson [1843-1907].

Anna Christine is 3 ½ and growing into a little lady. She enjoys listening to her Mommy (and others) read to her even more than her Mommy enjoys reading to her – which is saying a lot! Anna began the new homeschool preschool program from My Father's World in July, and the entire family is blessed by it. We knew as a family that we wanted a gentle academic beginning that encouraged a love of learning with a foundation rooted in God's Word. “All Aboard the Animal Train” is exactly that program. Each unit focuses on a color, animal and biblical character trait and is full of great book suggestions, activities, and games. Anna is learning to memorize Bible verses and, more importantly, to treat others with God's love, kindness, patience, etc. Anna brings us and her grandparents so much joy. We are privileged to live near family, and Anna spends frequent quality time with all four of her grandparents.

John William is our climber. He started walking at 11 months, and now, at not quite 1 ½, his mobility amazes and intimidates us. John tries to get into everything. He is bold, determined, and fast. His almost fearless approach to life has earned him many bumps and bruises, but he bounces back amazingly well. Thankfully, he is a good sleeper because getting anything done with him on the loose is a challenge. John is sweet and affectionate. His hugs are long, his welcoming smile and “Hi!” are enthusiastic, and his good-bye wave is endearing. It is hard to say “no” to his outstretched arms. His favorite toy is his set of golf clubs, and he practices his swing daily just like his daddy. John uses a few choice words to great effect with some highly communicative grunts and squeals and the occasional “what did he just say?” phrase that makes our heads turn.

2016 promises to be a big year with family milestones and travel, so please pray that our steps would be ordered by the Lord and that we would be safe and sane as we travel great distances with our little ones. Thank you all for your friendship!

With Love,

Zachary, Elizabeth, Anna, and John Pruett

Merry Christmas!