By: Jennifer Murray

Read. Reading. To Be Read.

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I love sharing what we’ve been reading and getting good book recommendations from YOU, so here’s some of what we’ve read, what we’re reading, and what’s up next on our reading lists.

Personally What I’ve Read so Far in 2016:

  • Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova – I really enjoyed this author’s book Still Alice, so I decided to give this one a try. It was a tough read, but one I’m glad I finished. Lots of perspective for family + health!
  • A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner – Loved the parallels in this story and how it all came together.
  • You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan – One of the THE BEST marriage books I’ve read. Really want to go back through this one again and soak up even more.

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What We’ve {Re}Read with the Boys: 

They read so many chapter books on their own these days, but we still love reading books aloud at the end of the day.

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis – The boys and Brad finished this one for the second time. This time was even better, as the boys were a little older and able to grasp more of the story.
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd-Jones – I think this is our 4th total time through this book. It’s always fresh and such a cherished read.

What I’m Currently Reading: 

  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – I’m about halfway through this one and still not able to anticipate where it’s going. It had a bit of a slow start, but now I’m really into the characters and anticipating the ending.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – This one has been on my list for some time after so many friends have loved it. I figured it’s the perfect time to dig in as we’re already in the mode of updating and organizing before the baby comes.

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What We’re Currently Reading with the Boys:

Here’s what we’ve been reading for nightly devotions… (Here’s more of our devotional favorites.)

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And Here’s What’s On My Personal To-Read List: 

I’m fortunate to have friends who are authors. I’ve known them from back when they were “just bloggers” and I’m so incredibly proud of their efforts that have poured onto these pages. Get your hands on these! They can be found at Target, Amazon, your local Christian bookstores, and on best seller’s lists!!!!

  • My Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner – I’ve always admired how Jess balances her roles in life with self-care and creativity – something I definitely want to grow in.
  • Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World By Kristen Welch –  I’m anxious to gain more perspective on raising our kids to be thankful and have a greater perspective for what they’ve been given – something we’re constantly working on in our home.
  • Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver – So many lives were touched by Sara’s life, and I’m so thankful that my dear friend Mary could continue to share her story and the beauty of choosing joy regardless of circumstances.
  • Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington – This is an area I’ve really been intentional in growing in, and I’m looking forward to gaining more wisdom from someone whom I admire so much.

What’s On the Boys’ To-Read List:

  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – The boys are looking forward to the next book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
  • Unbroken (Young Adult Adaptation) by Laura Hildenbrand – Brad and I both were greatly impacted by reading Unbroken and consider it one of our top 3 books we’ve ever read.  The boys have heard us talk about it over the past couple of years, and when Brooks and I found the adapted version at the library, we had to check it out. We’ll definitely preview this one before reading it aloud, but I look forward to the boys getting to hear the astounding story of Louis Zamperini.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madelene L’Engle – I cannot wait to dive into this classic with my dudes!

Now for my favorite part….YOUR turn! What are you reading for fun? What are your reading for personal growth? What are you reading with your kids? Can’t wait to add more books for my “To Be Read” list! 

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a tiny affiliate commission (Diaper Money!!!) – so THANK YOU. Know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to your lives, because I genuinely care about you!
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By: Jennifer Murray

20 Week Bumpdate

Finally I have something more to show for my 20 week Bumpdate! 

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First off, if you missed the big gender reveal, go here first!

This week was a BIG week. We had my 20 week appointment and anatomy scan ultrasound, which confirmed that everything is going GREAT!  I’m so amazed by God’s amazing mastery in forming us from the beginning: to watch the four chambers of the heart with the blood flowing in and out, the kidneys, his rounded belly, the perfectly formed bones of each finger and toe – it’s astounding!

Our baby measures around 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom (the size of a banana) and he weighs 12 ounces, which is a little ahead of schedule! Good job, Little Buddy! Developmentally he should be practicing swallowing, is covered in vernix (white substance on his skin to protect it from irritation from being submerged in amniotic fluid), and might even be opening his eyes this week.

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Symptoms: I’m certainly more like myself than 1st and the beginning of the 2nd trimester. Nausea is pretty much non-existent, and the extreme exhaustion has subsided. I still have bouts of fatigue that hit me in the evenings, but it’s dramatically improved.

I’ve really enjoyed getting back to an exercise routine, even if it’s modified. I think I’m finally starting to graduate to the “pregnant girl” at the gym instead of the one who needs to push it and work off the holiday pudge.

My round ligament has been the biggest complaint of the week, which I’m sure is due to all the stretching and growing that has seemed to really ramp up this week. And in the evenings the outside of my belly just is sore. {Growing pains, eh?} 

The 20 week scan this week was a huge reassurance, which has helped tremendously with my emotions and fears.

Highlights: This week’s ultrasound was definitely the biggest highlight of the week, but I also went through some hand-me-down maternity clothes. I’ve made it to 20 weeks in my own clothes, but I know it’s not going to last much longer.

Another highlight has been the frequency of movement I’m able to feel. Little Dude is a party animal. The poor ultrasound tech was like, “Can you just be still for a quick second so I can measure you?” He reminds us of Clark when he was in my belly. (Oh dear.)

We’ve also been working on updating our downstairs flooring, which is something we’ve wanted to do since we moved in 8 years ago!

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Cravings/Aversions: Once again, pretty much EVERYTHING sounds good. No real aversions or serious cravings.

Looking Forward To: I know this is probably the “easiest time” of my pregnancy, so I’m trying to soak it up and enjoy a singleton pregnancy. I’m looking forward to starting to get ready for his arrival with collecting baby things, getting a crib, etc. I’m frequently distracted by all things baby on Amazon. Oh yes, I was ordering envelopes, not an Ergo.

The Boys:Last night, I loved listening to the boys talk about how excited they are to hold their brother and get new things for their brother. So sweet how they are already connected.

Name: We are leaning pretty heavily on a first name this week that pretty much the whole family loves. We’ll see if it sticks. Still open to suggestions if you want to leave them in the comment section!

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By: Jennifer Murray

A Two Year Journey…

A lot has happened in two years time. The February before last was a very difficult month for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I struggled and wrestled and hurt in ways I had never experienced.

Last February was a stark contrast, as God showed Himself so faithful through grief and trial. He worked in my heart, in our family, and in our marriage in ways that we couldn’t have grown without the pain. I read the words that I wrote 1 year ago in amazement of God’s sovereign ways that are so much better than my own. I still have questions, sorrow, and wounds, but I know for certain that God did use suffering for my good.

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Another good thing came out of February 2014…

After a lot of persistence from my dear friend, Myra, I decided to give essential oils a try. I was already looking into natural living and finding ways to incorporate alternatives into our lives. I was mostly curious. I didn’t know if I would end up proving her wrong or becoming a crunchy mom that smelled like hemp, but I wanted to learn and give it a whirl.

Fast forward two years later, and I don’t smell like hemp (more of a citrus soft scent today) and we have benefited from Young Living essential oils in countless ways. They are part of our daily lives from drinking Ningxia Red in the morning, diffusing a scent to make the home smell lovely and to support our immune systems, applying oils during homework, adding a drop to my baking or cooking, spraying some Thieves spray on my hands after using a public restroom, cleaning without chemicals, applying them when someone is having trouble getting to sleep, and whatever else we might encounter uses for them throughout the day to help support our systems. It’s simple and instinctive now.

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There was no accidental timing for essential oils coming into our home. It was one thing of many that supported us through a difficult time. It became an accidental business in the process, which allowed me to pour into other peoples lives and needs. It created relationships that I was lacking, it pushed me to be bolder, it helped me gain confidence, and it helped us financially in a significant way.

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I’ve been cautious about sharing them too often here, because I don’t want to ever be salesy or pitchy, but I DO love helping others support their health and wellness. I love when I get success messages and thank you’s. I love when skeptics turn into “oilers”, and I love seeing families benefit from having essential oils in their homes.

Maybe you need a “Myra” in your life to propel you to give them a try.

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I’m willing to be “that girl”.

I wanted to mention them this week, because it’s my 2 year anniversary with Young Living AND there happens to be a sale {super rare} on the Premium Starter Kit (which is how it all got started for me).

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It’s really THE BEST value and opportunity to give them a try. 

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And because I want to celebrate my 2 Year Anniversary with You, I’m offering a $20 product credit when you sign up with my member number (#1672711) through Feb. 29th! So that makes the savings of $36!!! I have all of the details and easy of follow steps for signing up here:

http://www.4tunate.net/young-living-essential-oils/

***If you take me up on this INCREDIBLE savings, please let me know in the comment section, so I can place the $20 on your account for future use!

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