What I’m reading right now

Every so often, I get asked what I liked to read, so occasionally I list the books I’m currently reading or have recently read.

I just finished Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice, a book I bought from half.com on the recommendation of a friend (Hi Shana!). The book covers issues like AIDS, human trafficking, hunger, lack of clean water, and the environment, and I thought it was very worthwhile read.

Far, far too often, conservative Christians are lacking in passion for these types of issues (“not my problem” is the thought), but this book provides both inspiration for people who love God and practical ideas about how we might be able to help people who are suffering.

I especially liked the chapter about the environment because it talked about how taking care of the environment is a way of loving other people.

“Wherever you stand on the issue of climate change, to get mired in debate is to miss the larger opportunity to care about what God cares about-the creation he called “very good” and the immeasurably valuable humans who depend on his creation for their very lives.”


And another quote:

“We must admit that our love for God is deficient when we degrade his creation and our love for our neighbors-both those who live near us and those who live across the ocean-is deficient when we hinder their ability to survive, whether by our negative action or our neutral inaction.”

Yes, yes.


I’m also reading Earn It, Learn It, a book sent to me for review purposes.

Earn it, Learn it is about the Earn My Keep allowance system, in which you help your child practice a bunch of difference careers and then pay them for their efforts. The first part of the book explains the system and the second part is filled with different careers you can have your child try. Each career section has a lot of different ideas that are appropriate for varying age levels (and also varying amounts of parental time!).

I think having children do work to earn their allowance is a great idea, and I also think that parents should help their children figure out what jobs they like doing so that they can help them figure out a career path that uses their particular gifts and abilities. Mr. FG and I already have some ideas about what direction our kids are leaning, but if your child hasn’t shown any particular passions, the careers in Earn My Keep could be helpful to you.

Since we homeschool, I’m not sure if I’ll actually go through the careers in Earn My Keep (I’m a little loathe to add more educational work for me!), but I can see this book being a useful tool for some parents and children.


I’m also reading Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, and now that I’m involved with the worship band at our church, I finally borrowed it from my mom.

So far, I think it’s really good…lots of talk about serving the congregation and helping them to worship (thus avoiding a performance driven, “look at me!” kind of thing), plus practical tips for helping music ministry to run more smoothly.


With the kids, Mr. FG and I are reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (we’re working our way through all the Chronicles of Narnia books in the evenings).

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the Narnia books are great for adults and children alike (even 5 year old Zoe loves them), but maybe I should tell you that reading out loud as a family is a great frugal, educational, enjoyable activity, even when all of your children can read (and all of mine can now). Experiencing a story together is so much fun, and since children can understand read-out-loud material at a level far higher than the level they can read themselves, you can expose them to deep story lines and rich vocabulary that they wouldn’t otherwise experience.


And lastly, Mr. FG and I are reading A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. We read this together at night before bed, although for the last few weeks we haven’t managed to get in very many sessions at all!


Have you read anything fabulous lately?


Today’s 365 post: This picture makes me smile.


  1. says

    Zealous Love sounds fantastic, I’ll have to go see if my library has it.

    I’ve been on a kick of reading non-fiction about raising girls (since I have 3 little ones). I read Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, Little Girls Can Be Mean by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert, and I have 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney on hold at the library.

    Since my oldest starts Kindergarten next year, let’s just say I’m prepping for what lies ahead. *Sigh.*


    • says

      I just read Cinderella Ate My Daughter and loved it! (Well, it was kind of scary, but great nonetheless). I’m now reading Packaging Girlhood, which is like the advanced version of Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

  2. Denise says

    Thanks for the suggestions, Kristen! You’ve reminded me I have Worship Matters on my shelf, and now I’ll pull it out. I sing with our worship team, and it is such a blessing.

  3. says

    Oh, another Narnia book. The very best. “Zealous Love” sounds amazing. I do everything that I can for the environment and worry about the changes that I see happening but ultimately I can’t believe that God doesn’t have a longterm plan.

  4. says

    I totally agree about reading aloud to kids! My mom read aloud to me until midway through middle school (when my solo reading speed began to outpace her reading aloud speed and I got impatient), and I always cherished that time with her.

    My daughter’s 2, and while we read a lot of board books and shorter things to her, we also read a lot more advanced picture books and Early Reader books. She loves them, and I’m happy to expose her to richer literature.

    read a lot of more “advanced” picture books/Early Reader books to her, but she enjoys and understands them nonetheless. They just

  5. Molly says

    Hmm. Well, I don’t think really any of these would appeal to me, but that’s ok. I finished “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” last night. Excellent. Very ghostly/creepy/historical.

    • Kristen says

      Hee. Well, the book you just read doesn’t sound at all appealing to me either. We must have vastly different reading tastes!

  6. Snapper says

    I just started and finished A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard yesterday….tough read. Mentally re-committed to never let my 11 and 8 y/o girls out of my sight. :(
    American Wasteland by Jonathan Bloom is next up. And maybe a commitment to participate in Food Waste Fridays.
    Happy Thursday Kristen!

    • Pam K. says

      I’ve had “A Stolen Life” on reserve at the library ever since Jaycee’s interview was on ABC. I’m making my way up the que–I’m 12th in line now! Another one I waited several months to get at the library was “Heaven is for Real”, about a little boy who died and went to heaven and met Jesus, then came back to life. Loved that one, especially since the writer and his son are from my state of Nebraska! And the last one I waited a long time to get on reserve was “The Help”. I just saw the movie this week, and I must say it is a “must see”! It is a very real look at segregation in the South back in the 60’s. I was very glad I’d read it before seeing the movie, it added a lot of understanding for me. I highly recommend it!

  7. Shana says

    KRISTEN! You didn’t tell me that you had finished it!! Well – I am so so SO glad that you liked it, I really thought that you would. This makes me very happy :)

    I have another recommendation for those of you who are interested in reading Zealous Love – it’s by the same author – Mike Yankoski. The book is “Under the Overpass” – here is a link to the book:


    It has completely changed the way that I think about poverty, the homeless and the broken members of our society.

  8. PAM says


    I’m not sure where you attend church, etc. but let me say that where I am from I have not found Christians to be lacking in compassion at all. If anything it has been just the opposite. As Christians in our walk with Jesus Christ we are commanded to love one another and not to forget the poor, hungry, widows, etc. Some of the most generous and thoughtful people I know are Christians — just like you and me.

    • Kristen says

      I wish that was my experience overall, but a lot of times, Christians I meet don’t care much about the environment and some feel like poverty isn’t their problem (they don’t want to be one of those “bleeding heart liberals”). I don’t think I myself have had an appropriate view of poverty and such for a lot of my life, so I’m thankful for books like Zealous Love!

      • Virginia Dare says

        Kristen, you really have a great voice on the topic of everyday environmentalism and I truly appreciate it. Many people who have attended church have likely heard a preacher tell the popular parable of the man who waits for God’s help while flood waters rise around him. Multiple escapes and rescues arrive, but the man drowns anyway because he’s waiting for…what? God explains that his mercy and love involve your recognition and action, too. Every day we are presented with ways to care for the Creation and environmental impacts on other people–the water, land, and air are not going to miraculously heal themselves!

  9. Simply Mommy says

    I just found your blog and I LOVE IT!!!!

    We were just at the library yesterday. I’m currently perusing (I wont say reading because I’m only hitting the chapters that interest me) Canning and Preserving for Dummies, Organic Gardening for Dummies, The Idiots Guide to Self-Sufficient Living and Keep Chickens I can’t decide if I want to take on chickens). Plus some murder/crime novels for when I want something lighter. :)

    We’ve been reading to our daughter since she was six months old, she’s now seven. We’ve gone through the Lord of the Rings series, all the Little House books and the Ramona series. It’s turned her into an avid reader and she usually has a book in tow with her. Not unlike her mom.

  10. Noelle says

    I’ve just come across your blog recently and am really enjoying it! Thank you so much for sharing all your different ways to save money! Seeing your reading list with “A Praying Life” reminds me of another blog I read often. She also posts ways to wisely our money, but focuses on using our savings to give back to others and using out means to further the kingdom of God (http://morewithlesstoday.com/). Thank you for reminding me of this important part of life!

  11. priskill says

    “An Evening of Long Goodbyes” by Paul Murray — silly, funny, Irish novel. I was laughing out loud. Gotta love the English language as spoken in the British Isles!

    How wonderful that all 4 kids are reading — you must be so thrilled! Thanks for sharing your list.

  12. says

    I love the Narnia books too! I read the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my 2 year old daughter this summer. It took a while, reading only half a chapter in a sitting at times, but she really remembers the characters and understands a good portion of the story! Our copy has pictures on the first page of each chapter which helped also.

    My husband and I are currently reading aloud “Everyone here spoke sign language” a book about hereditary deafness in Martha’s Vineyard. It is a fascinating book about community – the members of this community all spoke sign language so that the deaf individuals could fully participate in daily life! Its not your typical read aloud book, but we have both enjoyed it very much.

  13. says

    Chris and I both read A Praying Life and loved it! Zealous Love looks like a great book, I’m going to check that out. Currently I’m finishing up Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, which has been awesome! Cami’s been doing chapter books right now we are on Farmer Boy with the little house series. Thanks for sharing this list.

  14. Tara says

    I hope you are reading the Chronicles in the right order! Somewhere along the line, publishers starting numbering them chronologically by story (putting the Magician’s Nephew first), instead of the order they were written, with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first, Magician’s Nephew is number six. Some people think it doesn’t matter, but in my experience, I think the series loses some of the magic when you know too much too soon. :)

  15. says

    I’m just back from a week’s holiday in Croatia where I read The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, in which he examines the lives of a handful of residents as they struggle to survive during the siege of their beloved city. It raises interesting questions on how we react to acts of violence against us, how we deal with fear, how we decide on what really matters and what it is to be truly human.

  16. says

    PS My dad read to my sister and me when we were young. We started with picture books and moved on through traditional children’s stories (including CS Lewis and Dickens) to, as we grew older, some rather unusual ones, such as Jekyll and Hyde and the Tales of Poe.

    My dad was a brilliant reader. He did all the voices and sang all the songs. I’m indebted to him for my love of well written prose.

    I read to my children when they were young. They’re not avid readers at the moment but I’m hoping they will return to books as they grow older.

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