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Preparing Our Hearts

Preparing Our Hearts

Forty Days of Focused Discipline

Our world is all for the build-up to Christmas.  Stores put out decorations months in advance - craft stores give everyone a chance to put together a personalized gift before the leaves begin to change colors - kids start learning carols for school programs weeks into the school year.  

And yet, the same world almost mocks the forty days of preparation for Easter - Lent. 

While there are many who have scars from the human side of the church, please take a moment to prayerfully consider spending these forty days focusing on one part of your spiritual health in preparation for Easter - the single most important event of Christianity. 

There is no judgment in this - just a chance for reflection with your Lord and Savior. 

I am giving you a free sheet to help you stay motivated - check out each day as you walk through the Lenten season.  Use it with your kids - let them put a sticker in each square as you get closer to the day of our Lord's resurrection.

Free Lent Printable

There is also a place for you to write your own memory verse or inspiration.  

Make it your own.  Grow in your faith.  Experience Easter this year with a rejuvenated faith.

For more food for thought on focusing your spiritual disciplines, I'm leaving a few links you are welcome to check out.

  1. Practical steps towards spiritual discipline -  check out some common forms of spiritual discipline and how to take steps to being more disciplined. 
  2. What's so spiritual about my gifts? - a book by Henry Blackaby to help you understand the gift of the Holy Spirit
  3. Hope to pull you through - a wonderful song by Colton Dixon to help build up your hope.
  4. Easter books for your kids - a couple of suggestions to use with your kiddos from Mandy at Worshipful Living

How do you prepare for Easter?  

Marissa @ Reading List

Linking up with these great blogs:


A Guaranteed Technique to Brighten the Rough Parenting Days

Children's Corner

Guaranteed Technique to Brighten the Rough Parenting Days

The internet, especially social media, has given us parents a chance to let off the steam of the day whenever we need a quick break.  Crazy videos to make us laugh -  a quick chat with an old friend - another mom's rant about the work of being at  home, going to work, etc...

While all of these little moments give a reprieve and can be good for our sanity, it can often take us away from the joy that our kids can give us.  We get sucked into the screen world to escape the hard and miss the wonderful in the process.

The ability of kids to change their mood is a huge lesson us adults can learn from. When the hard comes take a moment to start over and change your mood.  Our favorite change is switching to silly.

Luckily my kids are great at this.

When I am tempted to search out something online to distract me from the hard, the difficult, the less glamorous side of parenting, I force myself to pull out the silly - usually in the form of a book.  Of course, my kiddos are more than glad that mommy is going to read with them and silly books?  Well, who doesn't love a silly book?

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble a feature on Children's Corner on Reading List

Now that the oldest is in grade school, and the next one is preparing for school next year, we have pulled out The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash** - an extraordinarily goofy story about one girl's field trip to the farm.

About the Book

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash follows one girl's recap of her school field trip to the farm after her mom asks about her day.  This little girl is clearly a wonderful story teller as she begins with telling her mom the trip was boring.  The mom wants details, and the little girl launches into a colorful description of what happened at the farm.  Clearly she is concocting a whooper of a story, and the mom knows - yet the book is just plain silly.  It is sure to capture the silly in your kids and keep them laughing throughout the book.

Why We Like It

My boys just love the idea of a bunch of kids at a farm throwing eggs and pigs on the school bus eating the students' lunches.  The illustrations throughout the book are full of silliness and details which capture kid's attention no matter what.

Another bonus is this is a great book to help encourage your young reader to build their confidence.  Most of the words are basic sight words, a few words directly related to farms that could stretch their vocabulary slightly and only a handful that will challenge them.  Also, the illustrations take up the bulk of the pages so there are not many words on each one, another great indicator of an emerging reader book.

As a bonus, this book allows a great change to show your kids the concept of cause and effect, as each step into this amazing story results in a new chain reaction.  Each new effect needs an, even more, outrageous fib to complete the whole story.

While the book does portray a young girl who is clearly willing to tell a crazy lie to her mom, it also shows that parents are not as easily fooled by their kids' stories as a child might think.  The mom is clearly allowing her daughter to tell her about her day, yet she is not convinced.  The book is a great way to discuss how when we tell lies it results in a lack of trust.

But mostly this is just a silly story that is sure to light the mood no matter the downward spiral you might have gotten caught up in the day. 

Title: The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
Author: Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator: Steven Kellogg
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: October 1992
For ages: 4+ - younger if you want to focus on making up stories based on illustrations
Type: Children's, animals, school life, social skills

Silly stories are the perfect way to lighten your kiddos moods on rough days. #KidsBooks @Reading_List1

Call to Pinterest page and ideas  

  1. Mudpies and Makeup put together a great set of printables for the book - as well a fun way to tie the book into your farm focus for teachers and homeschoolers. The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Free Book Pack
  2. Teaching with a Mountain View shares a great activity to work on cause and effect with your kiddos through this post with printable and instructions - she also has a few more books for further practice. Teaching Cause and Effect for Elementary
  3. Early Activities and Projects shows a quick and easy way to create your own snakes to go along with the story while working on your kids fine motor skills - drawing & cutting. Cutting Paper Snakes
  4. Housing a Forest has a great tutorial on how to make your own rainbow bubble snakes to take this super fun book outside for some amazing play time!  Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Have you read a silly book in order to brighten up a rough day?  Do your kids enjoy silly books?  If so, what is their favorite?

Marissa on Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process.

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you!

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The Painter's Daughter... A Sneak Peek

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 

Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently

Current book:

The Painter's Daughter

Julie Klassen

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen  a Sneak Peek on Reading List

Sneak Peek:

"He shrugged. 'When a soldier knows he might die at any moment, he either ignores God to 'eat, drink, kill and be merry,' or becomes very aware of the brevity and blessedness of life.' She nodded thoughtfully."    location 378 (e-reader)

Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:

Marissa writes book reviews from a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

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Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.

Twitter ~~ Google + ~~ Instagram ~~ Pinterest
Bloglovin' ~~ Subscribe ~~ Goodreads 

Here are some rules if you decide to join in:

• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!

Marissa at Reading List

Linking up with these fun hops:

Making your home sing MondaysWhat Joy Is MineMe, Coffee and JesusStrangers and Pilgrims on EarthBook Review Blog HopBook Review Blog Hop”Our“Mrs.AOK,


The Cozy Reading Spot #128

Welcome to Cozy Reading Spot! 

This is your chance to share your posts, and then grab your favorite drink to curl up with and read other's posts.  You are welcome to share posts that tell us what has been on your heart, mind and bookshelves - yes that means just about anything goes.  As book lovers, we love to read, so share something for us to read today!

Last Week's Features

Marissa's Favorite

My favorite link from last week was by Meghan, Lawyer Mom: Keep a Reading Journal.  Meghan shares how she tracks of what she reads, and so do her kids!  

Most Popular

The most popular link from last week was by Hannah at Seeing the Lovely: 5 Non-Fiction Books Every Woman Should Read.  She shares five great books, some I've read, some I've heard of and a couple that are new to me.  

Please link up all you've got!  

This is an open link up, not just a book link up...

There are just a few small requests I have. 
  • Please link to a direct post, and not just your home page.
  • I wish I didn't have to say this, but please keep it clean. I know books & posts can range the gamut on adult content, but please keep your posts and images clean for this one. 
  • Try to stop by another link and say hi. I know we are all busy blogging, reading and writing, not mention living our lives and keeping up with responsibilities - however, what makes link up so fun is having new people visit your blog!  So spread the love and hop to at least one link for each link you leave.
  • Please include a link back to the hop in your post - the button codes are part of the flair page, but a text hyperlink is just as good! This simply allows others to join in the fun, and isn't that the whole point?                    

Join #TheCozyReadingSpot - share your posts & find new friends! #BloggingFun @Reading_List1

Cozy Reading Spot  {Reading List}

** If you're reading this from your email, click over and join us!  Reading List

The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with the Cozy Reading Spot, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to feature you in a future post.  That includes a link to your post, and a picture you've used on that post.  You are also allowing Reading List to share any post you link up with pinterest, facebook, twitter and/or google+.  Also, by posting in this hop, you are allowing your email address to be used for a weekly reminder of the hop - your email will not be used for any other purpose, period.

See where I link up!


Winter: The Final Novel of the Lunar Chronicles


Marissa Meyer

The thing about book series is that they have to come to an end eventually.

Not long into my adult life I got swept away with stand alone books, so when I re-entered the world of fictional series, I was amazed at how quickly publishing companies were pushing the follow ups in a series.  There were many series I fell in love with only to be disappointed because in order to keep up with deadlines the writing was compromised in different ways.

I started to think that book series were not worth the effort any more.

And then I picked up the Lunar Chronicles.  I had to read each book, and with this final novel in the series I was not disappointed.

The thing is, it doesn't sound like this book really is the end of the line for this collection of characters...

Winter by Marissa Meyer a Book Review on Reading List   #TheLunarChronicles #TeenLit

Story Overview 

Winter ** is the last novel in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  This final story follows all of the characters from the previous books as the final war escalates and comes to exciting ending.  Most of the action in this book happens on Luna (the moon) where Winter has spent her entire life.  As the princess she has been subjected to the evil ruling of the queen up close and personal. The result is a broken girl in so many areas.  She longs to be loved and love others and yet her mind is breaking as her nature is in complete contradiction with the behavior of the queen.

While there is plenty of character development for Winter, Meyer allows us to see her mostly through the relationships she has with the other characters that are so well developed.  

Just like the previous books, the vantage point changes between the main characters, and they are quite the group now that the series has grown.  Through each characters perspective we are able to see the detailed final steps that bring upon the Lunar Battle.  Even knowing this is the last book in the official novel series, the twists and turns will keep you turning pages. 

Personal Likes

I still am in love with Meyer's ability to fully develop characters.   She is not afraid for her heroes to be flawed and to struggle, which adds a level to the story that many authors never have.  Each character is unique, while obviously being based on a popular fairy tale character - think Disney here...

I also was glad the last few chapters were spent on the conclusion.  This book ends with barely a loose thread.  Each couple is accounted for and set up for the Happily Ever After that fairy tales are so popular for.   I do know that some people do not always enjoy the prolonged endings, but in this case, after investing so many pages to this character's lives, I wanted all the details explained and flushed out.

Winter by Marissa Meyer a Book Review on Reading List   #TheLunarChronicles #TeenLit

Personal Dislikes

For the regulars, you know that my taste for violence is not near the average American's - I simply am not a fan of violence, especially just for the sake of being violent.  But this book is about a war, and there was violence, torture, battles, murders, bio-medical warfare and illusions that moved others to violent acts.   There were a few chapters that were difficult to read as my imagination created the scenes just fine.

My other dislike was the length.  This book was more than 800 pages!  Just this one book.  Don't get me wrong, I love to read, and read hundreds of pages a week, but for one book to go on and on in such a way could totally turn a ton of people off.  At least this is the final section of the epic tale so if you've invested enough in the previous books you will want to continue on even with the weight of the pages to hold.

Reasons to Read

This is one of those series that can suck you in completely.  If you are a fan of fairy tales, science fiction, well created characters and a bit of over the top fantasy, you will most likely enjoy this series.  Just be fair warned that you will have to invest some serious time as each book get longer and there is still a collection of novellas coming! 

Reading List Rating

Five heart rating on Reading List

This book is getting a five heart rating, because I just loved the series!  Winter was a wonderful conclusion to the series (yes I know there are still novellas to be released...) and I was not left disappointed in the series at all. 

My Suggested Audience

The Lunar Chronicles are suggested for Teens.  And I think it's fine for teens.  As this is a science fiction book with plenty of fairy tale nods, there is violence and war.  So if you are not a fan of books that include some fighting, maybe stay away from this set - but it is always a necessary part of the plot and never over the top (well maybe there are a couple of scenes in Scarlet that get a little graphic, but it is needed).

I do still think this is a wonderful series for adults also. While I'm all for teens getting a special place in their local library to feel comfortable, adults shouldn't stay away from this series just because it is shelved with the teen books. If you are a fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time, you will most likely enjoy this series. 

...broken is not the same as unfixable. #Winter #LunarChronicles @Reading_List1

Would you pick up a book that you knew was the beginning of a long series?  What matters more to you, great characters, an excellent plot, a great setting?  What was longest book or book series you've read?

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

Curious about the rest of the Lunar Chronicles?  See what I've shared so far!

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process. 

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

Linking up with these fun hops:

Making your home sing MondaysWhat Joy Is MineMe, Coffee and JesusStrangers and Pilgrims on EarthBook Review Blog HopBook Review Blog Hop”Our
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