What I’ve been Reading and Listening to Lately: Recommendations for You!

Summer is about half over. HALF over. It’s not over yet! Target dollar section, I’m looking at you… (There’s a sad story there about a girl in search of swim goggles only to find school supplies. At the end of July. Sigh.)

There is still plenty of time to enjoy a good read or podcast on the lake, beach, or by the pool on a lazy day. I am finding so much encouragement and soul-feeding in my podcasts and books lately and I wanted to pass on the goodness, so here goes…

If you’re looking for one last book to read to complete your summer…

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read this one to the kids in the beginning of the summer (and we finished it on Audible when we were driving to and from VBS one week) and had my mom and sister-in-law read it, too, and we had “book club” while on vacation! It’s an easy read, which is great for summer and the theme of “coming alive” and being surrounded by beautiful things couldn’t be more perfect for the season.
  2. The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie. I listened to this on Audible, also, and loved it! Not only does it have so many great ideas for how, when, and what to read aloud to your kids, it’s filled with helpful information about the importance and impact of reading for everyone. This is one I’ll be revisiting often.
  3. Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown. This was recommended by a friend and I ended up having a small group book club with it. Very thought-provoking and spiritually stirring, you could honestly do a whole study group on the book and stretch it out over several weeks. You will find yourself closely identifying with one or more of the main characters and will undoubtedly do a lot of spiritual self-reflection.
  4. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. A middle-grade novel series, I read the first one to the kids, and Abby and I are reading the rest on our own but at the same time. We’re having our own “book club” and our first meeting is this Saturday to talk about the second book! This is such a sweet series and super fun to read. Might be my favorite pick. Think “Little Women” but in modern times, with charm and humor.
  5. Currently, I am listening to A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, but I haven’t finished it yet. It’s great to listen to on a long walk and full of poignant quotes like this one:

“We can surely no longer pretend that our children are growing up into a peaceful, secure, and civilized world. We’ve come to the point where it’s irresponsible to try to protect them from the irrational world they will have to live in when they grow up. The children themselves haven’t yet isolated themselves by selfishness and indifference; they do not fall easily into the error of despair; they are considerably braver than most grownups. Our responsibility to them is not to pretend that if we don’t look, evil will go away, but to give them weapons against it.” 
― Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

This made me think of homeschooling and the false judgment that we are attempting to shelter our children from the world. I do not wish to shelter them (fully) from the world as they grow, but I want to properly equip them to deal with it. And that is something I can do much better at home.

Looking for a good listen while you wash the dishes, go for a walk/run, or while on a road trip? Here are the podcasts I have stored up on my phone…

  1. Risen Motherhood*. This is my favorite podcast and my number one recommendation! I’ve been an R/M listener for over a year and I can’t get enough. They take a break in the summer so I used this as an opportunity to get caught up on episodes I hadn’t heard before. This is a podcast that is full of love, laughter, encouragement, and Gospel-truth for the weary mama! Topics range from sleep-deprivation and mom-bods to education choices, screen time, etc. I’m so in love.
  2. The Read-Aloud Revival. This is Sarah Mackenzie’s podcast and it is delightful. Author interviews, book recommendations, and tips and tricks for home education, though even if you don’t homeschool, you can benefit from this podcast!
  3. Wild + Free*. This podcast for homeschoolers refreshes my mama soul and reminds me of the importance of letting children be wild and free and unstructured at times. It reminds me that homeschooling is NOT about recreating public school at home but about creating relationship, love of learning, and family memories to last a lifetime.
  4. Heidi St. John. Heidi’s podcast is a Bible study, poignant political discussion, interesting interviews and Q&A all rolled into one. I don’t always agree with her politics 100%, but I love her Bible studies and she is grounded in Biblical truth which I appreciate.

*These podcasts (Risen Motherhood and Wild + Free) both have books coming out this fall! I have pre-ordered them on Amazon already! If you give them a listen and like what you hear, I encourage you to do the same… click on the links above. 🙂

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