{Books Lately} September 2015

The Open Home 342


Once again I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately. Here are the notable.


The Sixty Minute Mother Book Image

The Sixty Minute Mother by Rob Parsons

The Husby read “The Sixty Minute Father” soon after we became parents and quickly declared he would re-read this book every year. So when I came across “The Sixty Minute Mother” on the church bookstall for a bargain price, I just had to give it a go. This book encouraged and challenged me in three very specific ways. Firstly, that as a mother I need to accept my children and not just love them, love and acceptance are two very different things. Two, that “if we do this, we can’t do that” and it’s as simple as that. Whether I work at home caring for my children or work outside the home serving others, I will be missing out on something and yet gaining something else. And thirdly, I learnt that parenting isn’t for cowards, my days with my girls safely tucked in my nest are numbered and one day I will need to let them go (and how I handle that is pretty key to our adult relationship). And did I read it in sixty minutes I hear you ask? Unfortunately it took me longer, but then I am a slow reader who also had to deal with a clingy toddler and cranky baby in between chapters.


Home for Good Book Image

Home for Good by Krish Kandiah

It is estimated that a child enters care in the UK every 22 minutes. In this book, Krish Kandiah challenges the church to better play it’s part in caring for the orphans in our midst, known better in todays context as vulnerable children. It’s a well balanced mix of Biblical teaching, insightful case studies and practical considerations that make it deeply challenging and truly gripping. This book left me feeling heart broken, convicted, daunted and inspired all at the same time, a very dangerous combination!

  • Heartbroken – for the thousands of vulnerable children in the UK alone that are in need of a home for good.
  • Convicted – that I very much have a part to play in this hard but rewarding mission.
  • Daunted – at the responsibility and difficulties that would come with caring for such children.
  • Inspired – by the difference the church could make it it chooses to support the care of vulnerable children in our own communities.

I ask that everyone read this book, but do so with caution, it will open your eyes, it will convict you and it will change you.



In Defense of the Fatherless Book ImageIn Defense of the Fatherless
by Sara Brinton & Amanda Bennett

Continuing with the theme of vulnerable children, this book is a very brave attempt at redeeming international orphan care. The book focuses on the three main responses to the orphan crisis in the developing world: orphan care, short term missions and international adoption and highlights that despite many good intentions to help ‘our response to the orphan crisis runs the real risk of exploiting vulnerable families and children’. I have to admit as someone who has met orphans, been on several short term mission trips and who doesn’t rule out international adoption for my own family, this book thoroughly depressed me (as all books discussing the orphan crisis should do, I guess?) and yet, by the end it had also filled me with great hope. Hope that there is a way to help without hurting, a way to be obedient to our Biblical call to defend the fatherless. I recommend this book to anyone who supports orphan care ministries, to anyone planning on serving overseas and to anyone interested in international adoption. Despite being an emotionally challenging read, it is an important one that discusses the ethics and common misconceptions surrounding the care of orphans and vulnerable families.


The Nesting Place Book Image

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

Regular blog readers out there will have no doubt stumbled across popular blogger Myquillyn Smith, aka “The Nester” at some point. Her delightful blog, Nesting Place shares the secrets of decorating for real people and with some wonderful results. This book came out at just the right time for me, coordinating perfectly with our move into our new home earlier this year. As a recovering perfectionist and self-confessed neat freak, decorating can be somewhat trying but I can honestly say this book has been so freeing for me, enabling me to take on board the many practical tips Myquillyn has to share. This book has given me the courage to take risks, to get on with some projects and to ignore those well intentioned voices that say to go cream when in my gut I know I want to paint the walls white. It’s helped me to prioritise my spending and work out which items I feel are worth splurging on, like light fixtures and bed linen and which items I think I can make savings on, like cabinets and chests. This book has also encouraged me to define my own decorating style, thus knowing when to stay clear of the trends that just aren’t me – like cow hide rugs and wall antlers – and when to stick with the things I love, like hanging my wall gallery even if one off statement pieces are currently the in thing. ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful’ has become my decorating mantra, which you will now often find me muttering under my breath as I nervously paint up another piece of furniture or sew some simple homemade curtains. As Myquillyn says, “Done is Better than Perfect” and I have to agree. It’s a perfect coffee table book full of beautiful photos and easy to read chapters that you can keep coming back to.

What books have you been reading lately?

{Books Lately} July 2015

The Open Home 342

Today I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately. Here are the notable.


Women Are Scary Book Image

Women Are Scary by Melanie Dale

Since becoming a mother I have realised that women are indeed very scary. This mummy gig is pretty isolating and with most of my friends either working nine to fives or living overseas I knew it was time to branch out and start dating some other mums. Enter Melanie Dale and her humorous book on developing ‘mom-lationships’. I enjoyed Melanie’s down to earth writing style, which is consistent with the writings over on her blog. It is full of lots of common sense advice that acts as a helpful reminder on how to pursue new friendships. The baseball analogy used was particularly helpful and enabled me to identify potential friendships and evaluate the bases my current ‘mom-lationships’ are at and come up with a strategy on how to move these forward. It’s an easy read which will have you laughing out loud.


Replenish Book Image

Replenish by Lisa Grace Byrne

Motherhood is one of the biggest blessings, it brings so much joy and yet it drains so much energy. This is the paradox of motherhood that Lisa Grace Byrne describes in Replenish. As a mother there is a fine line between sacrificing for your children and neglecting your own self care. After reaching a point of complete burnout, Lisa Grace Byrne identified eight core essentials that we mothers need to work on to experience true health and vitality. From nourishing food to joyful movement, authentic connections and anchored quiet – these were the cores that shouted for my attention first. Full of insight and practical tips on how to care for the woman behind the mother, her studies in biochemistry, nutrition and public health along with her accreditation as an holistic therapist fill you with confidence that she clearly knows what she is talking about! This a book all mothers with kiddies still in the nest should own, it’s a great manual for motherhood, a book you will keep coming back to. Five stars from me.


Clutterfree with Kids Book Image

Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker

It turns out I’m a minimalist and didn’t even know it! I just thought I was a neat freak who didn’t like clutter. Living clutterfree with kids is definitely more of a challenge though, hence why I got a copy of this book. I ended up skimming through it in the end rather than reading it in it’s entirety as a lot of his suggestions were just plain common sense to me and already long established habits in our home. However, I found the chapters on keepsakes and artwork particularly helpful as I tend to be a sentimental creature, hoarding every memento and piece of paper that may be able to document our lives. After reading this I was able to sort through my two boxes of keepsakes and narrow the items down to one box. So although a lot of this book was not new information to me, for the slightly less organised, untidy people out there it definitely could give you some practical tips on decluttering, which will then free you up to live a simpler, less distracted life.


A Life That Says Welcome Book Image

A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman

A Life That Says Welcome is a practical introduction to the art of hospitality, which has much less to do with entertaining and much more to do with the condition of your heart. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting from this book, but the title appealed to me and I enjoyed it nonetheless. In part it is a record of the authors own experience of running an open home, as well as a practical guide covering chapters on decluttering, cleaning and even easy recipe ideas to help you get started. It’s definitely a book to read with a notebook at hand, ready for jotting down all the ideas you can transfer to your own home. I particularly enjoyed how she affirmed our call to hospitality through searching the scriptures and in particular her reference to Mary & Martha has really stuck with me. She had some refreshing points about these two sisters and from now on I will remember that opening my home and serving others first starts with opening my heart in the presence of the Lord.

What books have you been reading lately?

{Books Lately} June 2015

Books Lately | The Open Home

Today I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately. Here are the notable.


Every Body Matters Image

Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas

I kickstarted the year with this book and it was just what I needed after the birth of my second daughter, when my body wasn’t quite feeling my own and my mind turned to getting my body back to some new sense of normal. This book blew me away and seriously challenged my priorities in regard to my own health and fitness. It is not a diet book nor a fitness guide, but rather a theological argument that challenges the church to put a higher priority on pursuing physical health. It has left me with a new and much healthier stance on achieving physical fitness, one that seeks to strengthen my body in order to strengthen my soul. I highly recommend this book, it is full of wisdom and relevance and gets five stars from me.


The 5 Love Languages ImageThe 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch and Gifts. You may think you know the 5 love languages, I did, having heard about them on a marriage course a few years back, but this small taster was no substitute for the actual book. I honestly found the book somewhat revelatory! It is full of wonderful case studies and many ‘a ha!‘ moments that will leave you with practical ideas to use as tools in your own marriage. I have come to understand both mine and my husband’s emotional needs so much more and would recommend this book to all married couples, no matter how long you have been married, you will learn something of use. From now on this is my go to gift for newly engaged couples, another five stars from me.


The Zimzum of Love ImageThe Zimzum of Love by Rob & Kristen Bell

I’m a bit of a Rob Bell fan, I could listen to that guy talk theology geekery all day long, but funnily enough I’ve never read one of his books – until now! This book did indeed give me a new way of understanding marriage and in conversation with the Husby I’m now often referring to how things are effecting the zimzum, or rather the space created between us. I particularly enjoyed how Mr & Mrs Bell interjected with each other through the book and the stick men drawings were also rather helpful. This is an easy read and a good book to pick up if you’re not wanting anything too heavy from a marriage book, gets three stars from me.

What books have you been reading lately?