Category Archives: books

Empty Book Shelf Challenge – Darren Book #2


Title: What We Talk About When We Talk About God

Author: Rob Bell

What’s it about: Bell looks at how the world has historically talked about God and how Christians have historically talked about God and says, let’s reevaluate and make sure we’re talking about who God really is.

Why did I read it: I’ve followed Rob Bell for many years and read most of his books, so it seemed natural to read his latest work. Also, I felt his last book was a bit off track and I wanted to see what direction he would go. I really like where he went with this one.

Favorite idea: In one of the chapters he talks about how big the universe is and how small the universe is (he really gets into the science of all that and my mind was totally blown) and how God is present in all parts of it. Similarly he wraps up the book talking about how God is everywhere and in everything. That is really beautiful to me and something I need to be reminded of.


Empty Book Shelf Challenge – Darren Book #1


Title: The Casual Vacancy

Author: J.K. Rowling

What’s it about: It’s basically about small town politics and the lives of the people involved. A seemingly boring topic that Rowling makes very interesting. I didn’t love the book because of it’s dark nature, but it features all the best things about Rowling’s writing.

Why did I read it: I couple years ago a read the Harry Potter series for the first time and loved it and loved it Rowling’s writing, so I thought I’d give her first non-Harry Potter book a shot.

Favorite idea: This books is pretty bleak, but it does have some redemptive qualities. It definitely reminded me of how much we need to love and to be Christ to the marginalized.

See the previous post to learn more about the Empty Book Shelf Challenge.


Last year Rachel and I started keeping track of the books we read. It was nice because throughout the year it can be hard to remember what you have and have not read. I sadly only read four books last year, Rachel read like a million. Anyway, I thought this year it would be fun to share what we’ve been reading on the blog and I came across a fun way of doing so. Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like fame started the “Empty Book Shelf” challenge. The idea is that you empty a book shelf and fill it with the books you read. Additionally he’s posting a little review of each book in the following format:



What’s it about:

Why did I read it:

Favorite idea:

I don’t think we’ll do the bookshelf part because we get some of our books from the library, plus we lack adequate shelf space. But we will do the review format and maybe snap a picture of the book. I already have two books under my belt, which is awesome for me. I’ll post my first one tonight as long as Rachel doesn’t go into labor… could be any time now!

watercolor alphabet flashcards

So, we have a little reader on our hands.

I’ll often be getting ready in the morning, and I will peek over into our living area and see a scene like this: Archie immersed in one of his favorite books. Since he was pretty little, we have intentionally tried to foster a love of reading. The library has become part of our weekly or every other week routine. We read to him often and he is always requesting different books. I definitely think this is something you need to foster, maybe kids can love reading on their own without much parental involvement, but in this day in age, with screens so prevalent, I think it really falls on the parents to open kids’ minds to the love of reading.
So, since he loves “reading” or looking at books, I decided to make him some alphabet flashcards to teach him the individual letters. I’m sure you can buy something like this, but I thought they would be fun to make, especially since I’ve been into watercolors lately.
So, I bought some blank flashcards and then just painted one letter on each card in different colors. Once they were dry, I outlined the letters with a black sharpie. Easy peasy. I bought little ring enclosures at Target to bind them together.

While I was at it, I decided to make number flashcards too, 1-10. IMG_2505
It was a fun, easy project and I hope it helps him get to know his letters and numbers at an early age!


As some of you may know, I work for a  here in Minneapolis and one of the motivations for us starting a letterpress business, is for me to be able to quite my job. For one, I don’t really enjoy my field of work and am not a big fan of the corporate environment. Also, I want to be able to spend more time with my family. The more and more we’ve talked about doing letterpress the more I’ve started to drag my feet at my job and be annoyed by it. Both Rachel and I keep hoping I can quite my job sooner than later. However, my attitude about my job has recently changed after listening to the audio book version of Quitter by Jon Acuff.

Archie visiting me at work

Archie visiting me at work

The book explores transitioning from you day job to your dream job, but in way I wasn’t expecting. The core message was actually hard for me to hear, but exactly what I needed. Acuff talks about the pitfalls of quitting your day job when your not ready for your dream job. He discusses how keeping you day job while pursuing your dream job can give you a lot of flexibility, especially financially. The book also made me look at how I approach my job. I’m constantly complaining about it and not doing it to the best of my ability, but in reality I’m incredibly blessed by my job. It allows me to support my family, so much so that Rachel doesn’t have to work. It gives us the financial flexibility to test the waters with our business. I like the people I work with, and honestly, it has a lot of great perks. Here are a few other things I learned from Quitter:

-Your day job can provide opportunities to learn, that will be valuable to you in your dream job.

-Performing poorly and having a bad attitude at your day job will carry through to your dream job. Likewise, performing well and having a positive attitude will have positive effects on your dream job.

-Learn to fall in like with a job you don’t love.

-In terms of time management while working a full time job, pursuing a dream and having a family: do less of the things you like and do more of the things you love.

-Once you’ve put in the work, have prepared financially, are organized, and have made peace with your day job, then you’re ready to quit your day job.

If you’re in a similar situation of trying to get out of your day job in order to pursue your dream job, I would highly recommend this book! As for me, I’m going to take what I’ve learned and put it into action.

Kisses from Katie + giveaway winners!


I read Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, fairly often and I’ve read her posts lately about her and her oldest daughter traveling to Uganda. Before she left, she wrote about how she was going to see Katie Davis and the amazing work she is doing there with Amazima Ministries– the child sponsorship organization that she founded. I didn’t know very much about Katie Davis, but had heard of her book, Kisses from Katie, so I decided to buy it this weekend with a Barnes and Noble gift card I got for my birthday.

Katie Davis and her daughters

Well, let me tell you, I just gobbled this book up! For some reason it was just so refreshing for me to read. I feel like the simple message of “God loves YOU!” gets lost in a lot of messages that I am accustom to hearing.  To hear of a woman younger than me, on her own, adopting 14 daughters with such joy just kind of blows my mind. I’ve been kind of in a rut lately, feeling unstable with the future feeling very unknown. But her words really reminded me that God loves us so much and we just need to obey by doing the work set right in front of us and He will show us the rest in due time. Sometimes I get cranky when I have too much to do, or simply work that I don’t want to do. But it is in the little things that we serve and love God– the laundry, the cooking, the meeting of basic needs. How we care for the ones we love shows how we see and love God.

**Also, thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway! We were excited to get as many entries as we did and we plan to offer the prints in our etsy shop in the coming months! The winners picked at random were  Dena Swenson and Liz Anderson. Congrats ladies!