Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Next 40 Years

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is a little morbid. I've cited it several times in blog posts and eulogies, because it fits the end of life.

It also fits the beginning, and the middle, or wherever you may be... because we take our first breath in light of eternity.

Psalm 90: 9-11, 12: "...we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away...So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

Three score and ten, or perhaps four score. 

This is why turning 40 is such a milestone, I guess... because if you live to be three score and ten (70), you're on the down hill slope. 

If by some reason of strength of body or strength of mind or by the grace of God you make it to four score, those years are full of sorrow...

But we fly away. 

I wanted to write this post last night, and title it something grand, like, "On the Eve of Turning 40"... 

but I was too tired after a 12 hour shift at the hospital. 

 And as always, I'm not really sure how to put into words how I feel. 

I guess every milestone must include some type of reflection, and all the self-help books from all the experts cite the importance of self-reflection. 

You have to know where you've been to know where you are. You have to know where you are to know where you're going. You have to know where you're going to know how to get there...

except sometimes you think you know where you are, only to find out that you can only see part of the landscape. 

Sometimes you don't like to remember where you've been, because it's full of shame and fear and self-doubt. Besides, you aren't that person anymore, anyway...

Sometimes you think you know where you're going, but God has different plans. 

Maybe this is why so many go through what we title mid-life crises. 

We don't like where we've been, or where we are, and the trajectory to where we are going doesn't look so great, either. 

At 40, it's easy to look back at your life and feel discouraged. 40 is a lot of years to do nothing...

but most of the time what the world views as success isn't really success at all. 

Success at the cost of everything you love is much too expensive and overrated, and often the price of success isn't visible to the outer eye. 

As I reflect over my first 40 years, I'd like to think I've been successful. If you measured my success by some standards, I'd definitely fall short.... but I do have a decent job, I've been married almost half my life (not without many ups and downs and battles to stay that way, with a lot of grace and forgiveness). I have a son who is going to be a world-changer, and in many ways already is. I have a doctorate degree, a terminal degree in my profession...

and while I'm proud of those things, those aren't truly success to me. The older I get, the more I see things differently, I guess, and that is mostly a good thing. I'm so far from perfect, but I truly desire an eternal lens, one that is reminded that the "successes" of this world are temporal... and that one day, even if I'm not a success, I'll fly away.

So, to borrow and slightly edit the phrase from Tim McGraw, "in my next 40 years", should God grace me with those... 

May God bless me with success...

Success that means that I have  positively impacted those around me through my words and deeds. 
Success that means that I have learned to accept myself, not because I am perfect, but because I am a masterpiece that He is still working on, and because He is faithful to finish what He started. 
Success that means that I see the good in others. 
Success that means that I live in the moment, appreciating all that I have. 
Success that means I am a hard worker, even though I am notoriously lazy. 
Success that means that I love well, live fully, and laugh often... at myself, at the joys of the day to day, and the simplicity of the mundane. 
Success that means I cry with others, and always have tissues available. 
Success that means I am full of grace, so that it spills out to those around me. 
Success that means that I seek Him first, knowing that if I do, everything else will fall in place. 

May God bless me with adventure...

new places. New faces. New experiences... as well as enjoyment of some old favorites. May I embrace the natural beauty around me and move to change that which is ugly in the world. 

May God bless me with some really good books =) but also help me write my own beautiful story, a tale that is told for others to "read" and smile and sigh at the ending...

May God allow no individual to leave an encounter with me unchanged for the better, but especially may no individual leave me changed for the worse... 

May His Word be a lamp and a light... and may I not be too stubborn to try new paths, even if they are hilly and grown over because they aren't well-traveled. 

Here's to 40!  May it be the best time of my life... until next year =)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

To My Incoming Junior

Tonight on the way home I heard Mercy Me's "Dear Younger Me" and it brought tears to my eyes.

I've been in a melancholy mood all week. Big changes, milestones, tend to make me reflect, and I realized that you are my younger me...

but different, obviously.

But some parents make their kids their redemption. I hope I've not been too bad at doing that to you. I hope that you feel as though you have freedom to make some of your own choices.

As I was thinking of what I would say to 16 year old Lauren, I mostly thought of what I'd want to say to 16 year old you... because that me is long gone, and even if I could change things I don't think I would, because it's got me where I am now.

But you...

The world is at your fingertips.

Tomorrow you'll get in your jeep and drive to school on the first day by yourself. I know you were driving yourself at the end of the school year, but there's something symbolic about driving that first day. New beginnings and all...

I think of you in preschool, so little and unable to speak perfectly plain, crying as I left.

Those glasses on your nose and that chip in your front tooth.. so full of personality.

You don't need me to hold your hand anymore. You don't need me to speak up for you anymore. You don't need me to fill out those forms (thank goodness).  You don't need me to help you with homework much.

This year you'll have a college account and take college classes. You'll continue to plan for your future, which is closer by the minute.

You'll stress some... a lot, if I know you.

You come by it honest.

But what I want for you this year is simple.

 I wish time would stand still...

not because I want you to stay where you are...

but because I want you to appreciate it.

I want you to fully live it, not just look forward to the next big thing.

I want you to know that if you fail it's ok. If you struggle in a class, it's ok. Sometimes it's those classes that are the hardest that teach you the most, because you have to learn to work for it.

I want you to know that you are smart and so much more than any score on the ACT or any other standardized test.

I want you to know that you are special, because nobody is quite like you.

I want you to practice independence but know that you can always count on me to help you make decisions. I also want you to remember that you are only 16.

I want you to know that it's better to be the nice kid than the kid with everything.

I want you to be the kid that the teacher likes, not because you are a suck-up, but because you respect them. 

I want everyone to see your smile and hear your laugh, because it's special.

I hope you succeed in making others feel as special as you. I'm not perfect, but I hope that I've instilled kindness in you enough that you can share it with someone else.

I want you to enjoy these teenage years, even as they are hard. 

Dream big. Chase those dreams. Work hard. Don't be afraid.

And know that I'll always love you more than mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You're going to have a great year... because you're a great kid. Thank you for being you, and as Thank God that He chose me to be your Mama. I'm so very blessed.

Monday, August 5, 2019

What I Read in July

1. The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia) by CS Lewis
Eustace and Jill are the heroes of this story, as they battle a different witch for the glory of Aslan. This is the 4th or 5th book in this series I've read and each have a good moral behind them.

2. Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle
Shankle is one of my favorite authors and I love everything I've ever read by her. This book is a seris of short devotions that would be good to read each day. I read several in a day. They include a scripture and a devotion, and each are relatable. Highly recommend!

3. The Basic Steps of Bible Study by Kay Arthur
This is a basic overview of inductive Bible study, a way to dig into the Scriptures to get more out of what you read. There are other books that go deeper into the process, but this is a good introduction into a more thorough way of reading the Bible.

4. Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner
Turner is a working Mom who has a passion for helping other working moms. This book centers on the myth that today's moms have to do it all. Each chapter focuses on an area where a mom may feel like she is stretched too thin, and gives ideas for moms (working or otherwise) on how they can prioritize what really matters.

5. Wreck My Life by Mo Isom
I heard Mo speak at Southland Christian Church earlier this year and she was so inspirational. This book tells of how she fought back after a wreck in which she should have been killed. It's a delightful read and a good reminder of how when we think we are in control we really aren't.

The next four books were read with Melody at the library while waiting for Mamaw Karen to get finished with business. They were favorites of mine, or Caleb's, or Kami's. 
6. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie- This whole series was a favorite of Caleb's.
7. Blueberries for Sal- I loved this book when I was at LBJ.
8. Are You My Mother- Not sure why I like this book so much, but it was a childhood favorite.
9. Madeline- Kami used to love this one.

10. A Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe
This book was set in England during WWII. The main character is a young German girl who had been evacuated to London from Germany because she was a Jew. She was injured in a bombing and suffered from amnesia. The rest of the book is about how she finds herself, comes to term with being German in a foreign country, and finds who she can trust.  I felt like this book moved a little slow but overall had a good plot.

11. Voyager (Outlander series) by Diana Gabaldon
This was the third in the series and in my opinion the best book so far. Claire finds herself back in Scotland with Jamie, and must come to terms with his life while she was absent. They find themselves heading across the ocean for high-sea adventures. Loved this one!

12. Anne of Avolea
This is the second book in the Anne of Green Gables series and is delightful as the first. Anne finds herself a teacher and works to better her community. A quick read, and pleasant! 
13. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I had read this years ago but rediscovered it, and it really makes sense. It made me think about why we often misunderstand each other in family and other relationships. Each of us have a prominent love language. You can give someone a million gifts and it does nothing, but if you put your phone down and actually listen to them it makes them feel like a million dollars. It's not that you don't love them... you just don't love them in away which they understand. I highly recommend this one for anyone who wants to do "better" in their relationships.

14. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
I can't say enough good about this book. I had seen it for years and had never read it, and then the film popped up on Netflix. Y'all know how I am about reading before I watch a movie, so I got this one and was delighted. It's written in a series of letters from different characters describing their experience in WWII. Funny, light-hearted, with just enough tragedy to pull at your heart strings.... so good. And the movie was great as well.

15. A Time to Love by Barbara Cameron
Set in Lancaster county, this novel centers on an Englisher who comes home to her Amish grandmother to heal from wounds she obtained as a war correspondent. She finds that she needs to heal physically and emotionally, and the novel follows her along that process. I love Amish novels, and this one is no exception.

16. Color Tour by Aaron Stander
Ray Elkins is investigating the death of a private school teacher and her friend, leading him on an adventure full of murder and mayhem. This book was slow to start, but picked up and I enjoyed it. The ending was definitely not what I expected. A great thriller to read by the pool!

As of the end of July, I had read 70 books. My goal for the year is 150. I'm behind and with school starting back I'm not sure how close I'll get to my goal, but I'll just keep reading in my free time and hope for the best. I'm currently reading 54 books. Yes, 54! I start one, then start another, and some of them are devotions or Bible study books that I read a little at a time. Some books are ones that I add to my reading list that I haven't really started.  I write that so that if you ever look at my goodreads list and see that it has taken me months to read a book, chances are I haven't really started reading it. I usually will read a chapter at a time, unless a book really grabs ahold and then I'll read more. I have stacks and stacks of books... but my stacks make me happy, and I find great pleasure in selecting what I'm reading next... so if you've got a good read let me know! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What I Read in June

1. The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This was a suggestion from a Goodreads challenge, and one I probably never would have read otherwise. The category was a book that involved a game of sorts... and this game wasn't one I would have considered. It reminded me of the game Clue in a way... several people in a mansion, somebody gets murdered, somebody's trying to figure out who the murderer was... only the person telling the story is given 8 days in the body/mind of 8 different characters to collect the clues, and it's a race against other people. It was hard for me to follow at times, but if you like a good mystery with a surprising ending, this is a book for you. 

2. Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake
This book was free on Kindle Unlimited, and I tried to listen to it as an audiobook first but just didn't get into it. The story is great, featuring a young Southern girl, Turtle, who comes of age in the late 1970s, a time when civil rights was thought to be over... except in the South. Turtle spends her summer days carefree at the local watering hole with her brother, her cousin, and their friends, until she befriends the new girl from Sri Lanka. They are faced with the ugliness of racial division, including visits by the KKK and a tragedy that makes them look deep inside to discover who they are. This was a great read with well-developed characters, and it made me ponder just how far we have come but how far we still have to go. 

3. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabladon
This is the second book in the series with Claire and Jamie Frazier. Claire, in modern times, has a daughter and reveals the truth of her parentage. Jamie, in the 1700s in Scotland, battles for his freedom. Separated by years but not in their hearts, the two long for each other. I struggled with this one... but have to say the next in the series is much better (I'm currently reading it). Full of language and some sexual content.

4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I saw on Goodreads where this is the best selling book so far this year and I can see why. It's beautifully written. As you read the description of the marshes, you can almost taste the salt water and hear the waves lap against the shore. The main character, Kya, is heartwrenching. The mix of a love story and a murder mystery keeps you guessing. And the ending is not what you'd expect at all... the best way for books to end. Highly recommend this one!

5. Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the  Nature of God and His Love for Us by Matthew Sleeth
I got this book as a member of a launch team.  The topic fascinated me because in the last couple of years I have fallen in love with hiking and nature (except for bugs and snakes and also really hot weather...). This book takes the topic of trees and traces it through the Bible. It talks about how God uses trees in so many of the major events. It pointed out how our respiratory system mimics the root system of a tree. The author is a medical doctor and writes in a way that is easy to follow, backing up his statements with scripture. It made me think about trees in a way I never had before, and I now find myself noticing them as I read my Bible each day. A good read!

6. Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
This is the second book in the Mary Poppins series and it was just as delightful as the first. I have to say, I can't remember really watching the movie. I did read the book about PL Travers that came out a few years ago, and found her an interesting individual. The Mary Poppins in these books wasn't quite what I had pictured in my mind from my knowledge of "Supercalifragilicous"  of "Spoonful of Sugar". I think I'll finish the series before I watch any of the movies.

I'm pitifully behind my goal for the year to finish 150 books... but I'll keep persevering!

Keep reading, friends! 

Saturday, June 8, 2019


As I wrote yesterday, the past week has been emotional... and with high emotions come exhaustion. Add to that a trip to Lexington to get glasses, a youth group trip to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (even though all I did was lounge on a float in the lazy river and try to finish the second Outlander book and sleep), and Relay For Life (even if a shortened version!) last night, and I was more than willing to have a day lounging around the house doing nothing but playing Candy Crush, reading, and catching up on Season 2 of Outlander and my Netflix list. The clouds were heavy and it spoke of rain and there's nothing quite like burrowing on the couch on a rainy day.

Caleb had to be up early for the ACT, but thankfully he's now able to drive so he got himself to Wolfe Co. He had mentioned going to the Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester when he got home, but I guess the early mornings babysitting and all of the brain power needed for the ACT convinced him that he was tired, too, because when he rolled in at Twin Cedar he had changed his mind.

I quietly breathed a sigh of relief and promptly stuck my nose back in to Claire and Jamie's world.

Then, because I'm nearing the end of the novel and my hand was getting tired from holding the book in a certain light to try to be able to see because I'm getting old (I have about 200 pages to go BUT it's almost 1000 total so I feel like I'm getting close to the end)...
Anyway, because I felt like I needed a break from reading I hopped on my computer and started scrolling on Facebook.

I ran across pictures of facebook friends at said Beer Cheese Festival, at a BBQ Festival in Lexington, at the beach, at at the Gorge, out of state, eating out...

All the usual fun things you post about on social media...

And I found myself starting in disdain at the book that I had JUST been saying I hadn't had enough time to read.

Because y'all.

Social media envy is a real thing and if we aren't careful it will destroy our lives.

I'm pretty sure that Paul wouldn't have written the verse about finding the secret to being content if he had lived in Facebook/Twitter/Instagram land... because those places are the secret to quickly becoming discontent.

I'm not saying I don't want my friends to have a good time... absolutely not! I LOVE social media and LOVE to see pictures of my friends and others enjoying life... all of their successes and all of their adventures. I know that I'll never live long enough to get to do everything that I want to do, but I can experience so many things and places vicariously through my friends.

It's just that sometimes when I see other people posting all of their great adventures, my lounging on the couch seems less than.

It's called FOMO... the Fear of Missing Out...

and we have to nip it in the bud.

I'm not saying don't pursue adventures- if you read my post the other day you know it's the complete opposite. Part of my goal this summer is to live as much as I can by getting out and doing things...

but it's also about being fully present in whatever moment we are given... not wishing I was somewhere doing something else.

So, I actually logged off the computer. I picked my book back up and ran my fingers lovingly over the worn pages...

because sometimes, the thing we need to fear missing out on is right in front of us. Quietness. Rest. Getting lost in a story.

The adventures will be waiting... and you'll be right on time.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Some Summer Reflections

This past week has been a roller coaster ride for my family.  As with any time of transition, it has me doing some reflecting... some processing... some recollecting.

My cousin Landry, the "baby" cousin, moved to Houston to start a new job.

My Uncle David died early Saturday morning from liver disease, something he had battled with for several years. . At the end, the last few hours, he worshipped along with my mom during her singing of Amazing Grace and I have no doubt that he is in Heaven with his Mom and Dad right now, struggling no more.

That very day, at 430 in the evening, my cousin Jordan married the love of his life, Samantha. It was an event we had looked forward to, and we were once again reminded of just how fragile life is, but how their is beauty in that fragility. It was a beautiful wedding, centered on the grace and blessing of God.

Tuesday brought Uncle David's funeral. As we gathered together in the funeral home, we were laughing and sharing stories, as we so often do when we are together. My Mamaw was a storyteller, and she taught us about connection. My cousin Gentry showed a video of his daughter Sawyer climbing up the changing table, and it resonated with me because I, too, was a climber.

My Mom found me on top of our upright piano one time. She walked out of the living room for literally 2 seconds into the kitchen and when she came back there I sat, swinging my legs back and forth. I was probably about Sawyer's age.

My favorite perch was on the kitchen table, though, just like a centerpiece.

I don't really remember it, but as my cousin Braylee said a couple of years ago,  I wasn't "afraid of nuffin."

My favorite reading spot a couple of summers in a row? A rock in the dried up creek by my house that was in the shape of Kentucky. I didn't think that copperheads or rattlesnakes liked to sun on rocks...

Crowds? Didn't bother me. I'd just as soon pretend I had a microphone in my hand and belt out "Tomorrow" from Annie. I even got a tip from a waitress at Disney World for my impromptu performance. The more people watching, the better.

I'm not sure when I lost that...

the ability to climb without worrying about falling.
the ability to not care who was looking at me or what they thought.
the utter fearlessness...

A couple of months ago, I was really struggling with a situation. Questioning. Looking for a way out...
and I felt like God spoke to me.
Not audibly... but in that small voice that you have to listen to really carefully to know what it was saying.
I'm pretty sure it was Him, because what that voice said was nothing I would have said to myself.
It essentially spoke up and said, "You can't keep letting fear push you away."

I would hear that message in podcasts on the way home from work... especially one by Emily Freeman, The Next Right Thing, who spoke in her calm and soothing voice about not letting fear boss you and not letting fear keep you from doing something you really wanted to do...

She basically said you could have other good reasons for not doing something, but if those reasons were being afraid of the what ifs... or the what nots... it wasn't a good enough reason.

I recently shared a meme on Facebook that spoke to where I am right now (or at least where I want ot be).  I don't own the rights to this picture, so please noone sue me (see! I'm afraid of litigation!)
So, amid the working ahead for the fall semester and working at the hospital and me forever trying to get my life under some semblance of being together... this is the summer where I do this.

Go back to laughing and basking in the sun and trying new things (except new food!) and not being afraid of taking the climb or what is hiding under the weeds on either side of the trail or if I'm doing enough or too much or whatever.

The summer before I turn 40?

A summer of adventure. Of appreciation. Of remembering what is important.

The best stories are those where the plot changes a few times... those that leave you guessing.

Here's to living that kind of life.

Monday, June 3, 2019

What I Read in April and May

What I read- not nearly enough!
But I did wind up a semester and do some hiking and got the boat in the lake for the first and second time this year and spent some time in my kayak and played bubbles with Melody...
so I'm giving myself grace because I've been busy living. I'll read as I can =)

1. A Light in the Dark by Maria K. Benjamin
This was a book I got through netgalley, and it was a good read. A fictional account of a sexual assault victim and how she found her way back to herself, it was a difficult read at times, but well worth it. The characters were well developed and believable, and I found myself hoping she could come to terms with her experience and learn to love again. 

2. Yes, No, and Maybe by Wendy Pope
This was a book we did with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, and I finished it late. It was all about learning to say yes to God, no to self, and maybe to good opportunities as they present themselves. Pope writes in personable voice, encouraging us to live the immeasurably more life. Full of Scripture, discussion questions, and thought-provoking quotes, I appreciated this book at the end of the semester as I question what truly is most important.

3. Bon Bon to Yoga Pants by Katie Cross
This book is about weight loss- but so much more. It's funny, sweet, and encouraging, as the main character,  Lexie, learns to love herself in her own skin. Highly recommend for someone looking for a short, easy read.

4. Educated by Tara Westover
In this memoir, Westover tells of her life as the daughter of survivalists. Her dad didn't believe in formal education, governmental interference, or healthcare, so she faced many difficulties throughout her childhood. She self-taught herself, went to college, and along the way discovered just what being educated meant. At times hard to read because of the heart-wrenching content, this book was a great reminder of how we can all do what we determine is necessary. Highly recommend!

5. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I was leary to read this because how can you improve on the Wizard of Oz (although I had never read the book until this year- see below!) However, Caleb wanted to see the musical and y'all know I can't see something without reading it first... we've still not watched the musical but it's on our bucket list. I've got to be honest with this one. It was a hard read. There was some very lewd content and language, and I found some parts distasteful. If you can get past that, it's an ok read. (And that's just my opinion!)

6. From the Grave: A 40 Day Lent Devotional by A. W. Tozer
Loved this book. Brief devotions for each day of Lent based on the writings of Tozer.

7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Yes, I had never read this one until this year! It was a bonus feature in my Wicked e-book, and a quick book but delightful.

8. Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson
This was another great read for Lent. Short devotions, thoughtful actions centering around one word a day.

9. And The Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado
I love Lucado, and the way he writes a story in every word on the page. This book was fitting for Easter time, working through the events Jesus faced the last week of His life. Loved it!

10. Preparing for Easter by C.S.Lewis
This devotional pulled writings from Lewis for each day. Entries were short and easy to read, and also easy to apply. 

1. Plowshare in Heaven by Jesse Stuart
A series of short stories centered on Northeastern Kentucky. I love that I understand Stuart's language and can picture some of the places he describes. Part of my #ExploreKy initiative, I'm reading Kentucky authors, so I"m sure Stuart will show up again.

2. Keep Showing Up by Karen Ehman
We read this for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, and I actually finished on time for this one! Ehman is such a talented author. She writes in a way that draws her reader in, and she provides sound Biblical basis for her ideas, as well as practical ways to apply the content. This book is focused on "average marriages", and is chock full of ideas to keep showing up and loving your hubby. Definitely recommend this one if you are married or if you're thinking of getting married.

3. Women of the Word by JenWilkin
Wilkin is an awesome Bible teacher who encourages her students to dig into the Word for themselves, learning what is actually there instead of having some one just "spoonfeed" it to them. This book gives tips and a process to really study God's Word so that it can be understood and applied. Highly recommend this for any student of the Bible- young or old!

4. Until I say Goodbye by Susan Spencer-Wendel
Spencer-Wendel was an investigative journalist who had a great life until she was diagnosed with ALS. She decided she wasn't going to take the disease without fighting, so she went on a "bucket list" type of final year. This book is about her life, her adventures, her family, and what she learned along the way. The latter part of this book was TYPED WITH HER NOSE, Y'ALL!!! Sadly, she passed away in 2014, but this story is a good reminder to live each day fully. Loved it!

5. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
Part love story, part mystery, this book has well-developed characters, enough suspense to keep you guessing... and anytime one of the main characters turns out to have amnesia you know it's going to be good, right? Aimee has the perfect relationship until her fiance disappears. She has been told he is dead; even attends a funeral the day that should have been married, but something tells her it's not the truth. Her search then reveals a twisting, winding road of family intrigue, jealousy, and love that keeps the reader flipping the page. I recommend this one if you like a good, fast read with suspense. I just started the second one in this series.

6. Trust Me by Jo Huddleston
This is the second book in this series. I found the first book a little dull and this one was slightly better. The plot was choppy in places and the dialogue was hard to read at times. A short read set in West Virginia, it's a sweet story but can't say I'd really recommend it.

7. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book follows the Ingalls family through-you guessed it! A long winter, complete with numerous blizzards and times when they surely thought they'd starve. I love this series and am sad there's only a couple more books for me to read.

I'm way behind my goal so I'm going to stop typing and get to reading. Check back next month for my June reads. I need to finish 17 books to get myself back on track! As always, I'd love to see what's on your list, even though my to read list is a mile long!