Saturday, July 31, 2021

Sisters' July Reading Challenge


The July Reading Challenge was such fun for both of us. You know it is good when your sister comes over for supper and reads an essay out loud from her book. I hope that in the midst of the summer craziness, that you took time for words. 

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1. Read a magazine from start to finish.

Charity - Daughters of Promise: Resilience (Issue 34)

I struggle to read entire magazines. I think it might be because I don't feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a book and adding it to my book log. I was delighted to have a reason to read this magazine from start to finish, and it was worth it! This issue challenged me more than usual. I found myself jotting down quotes which is always a good sign. Resilience deals with hard things--lives that are not perfect, in a world that is flawed. But we, as Christians, serve an amazing God.

Gina - I too read and thoroughly enjoyed the Resilience issue of Daughters of Promise. I was challenged by the stories of those striving to know and serve God even when He feels silent.

2. Read a book with a color in the title.

Charity - The Turquoise Table by Kristen Schell

Kristin is just an ordinary mom living in an ordinary community. But she wanted to know her neighbors and experience life with them. So she painted her picnic table turquoise, placed it in the front yard, and moved her family activities out of the backyard. They became front-yard people. I loved how this book was practical, and though the concept was a challenge, it also felt as if I could implement the concepts into my life no matter where I am. The question I am left with is, am I willing to give up my privacy, my quiet, and make my life one that people can enter into?

Gina - The Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt

Jeff's mother left when he was seven, and he closed his heart to emotions. But when she enters his life again, Jeff finds out how painful love can be. I loved the view of Eastern Maryland and the lovely shore. I had never read this middle-grade novel, but it made me want to reread Dicey's Song, which is in the same series. Voigt has a beautiful and heartrending way of describing the emotions of children.

3. Read a book of essays.

Charity - Endless Feasts: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet compiled and edited by Ruth Reichl

From breakfast in Maine to dinner in Tibet, this compilation of articles from Gourmet magazine was truly delightful and sometimes gut-rollicking hilarious. Not only did I gain a view of years past but also other countries, others states, and high class social events. The essays are from a variety of writers and span from 1949 to 1999. They cover travel, home cooking, restaurants, and just fun stories. May I issue a warning? You might want to avoid reading this book while hungry!

Gina - The Points of My Compass by E. B. White

Most readers know White as the author of Charlotte's Web and other children's stories, but White was also a talented essay writer. I was thrilled to find this collection of essays written in the late 50s and early 60s at a thrift store. White divided his time between his homes in New York City and a quiet cove in Maine so his topics include the demise of the Maine railroad, a book he is reading, politics, his old cook stove, and the New York pigeons. The book gives a glimpse of life during the Cold War before the first moon landing, from someone who wasn't trying to write history, but to describe life. Some of the essays held my interest sixty years later better than others, but whatever White writes, he writes well.

4. Read a book or listen to an audio book in a vehicle.

Charity - I delight in finding a good book to entertain me in the car. Though I told Gina that this month's audio book was a little too sappy, it was still rather fun. I also find it essential to take books with me if I even think there will be a moment of waiting and boredom. So books in my car are just a normal part of my nerdy existence!

Gina- We took a trip to North Carolina to visit family and listened to Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary Schmidt. As usual, Schmidt didn't disappoint. His books always include a struggling youth and a caring adult who teaches a specific topic while helping the teen cope with the hard things in life. In this book a butler shows up at Carter's door just when the family needs a stable adult. This was a story that all ages could enjoy and managed to make me want to watch a cricket game. My biggest complaint is that the cover makes this look like a book for younger readers but I think teens will enjoy it more.

5. Read beside water (ocean, lake, river, pool, creek, or lawn sprinkler).

Gina - My children enjoy splashing in the stream in a quiet park near our home on hot summer days. Most years I say I'm too busy, and only get there a time or so, but this year I've been trying to ignore the work and the annoyance of soggy clothes, and visit the creek often. I always find that my spirit is revived after an hour sitting with my feet in the water. I always bring a book to read and usually read a few pages, but I'm often distracted by the children, or just feel like staring into the ripples. I told Charity she should meet me at this park with her book for a photo shoot. 

Charity - My reading by the water was brief. Actually, I read my magazine while I waited for Gina. And then we enjoyed book talk instead of reading. But I do have in mind a lovely little spot to take my book someday - so maybe in August.

We'd love to hear what you are reading. Do you like to read outdoors? Do you have a recommendation for audio books for our August traveling?

Check back in a few days for the August Reading Challenges.


  1. So I think I did better in July for my reading challenges than last month.
    1. Magazine- I read the Resilience issue of Daughters of Promise magazine. So many of the stories I could relate to. And thank you Gina for your article "Created to Thrive".

    2.Book With Color in Title- I started listening to Anne of Green Gables but I have more to listen to.

    3. Book of Essays- I have a few pages left in " Sunlight Through Dusty Windows" by Dorcas Smucker

    4.Reading While in a Vehicle- I ready Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham. A must read for all Christians regarding the social Justice movement.

    5. Read by water- I missed out on that one.

    I do like to read outdoors but last month we had several thunderstorms come through so I didn't get to spend much time outside.
    I'm listening to Anne of Green Gables and I think its great for listening to while traveling or just for listening to on the way to market or running errands.
    When my daughters were little we listened to Johnathon Parks series of stories.

  2. The creek looks lovely (and cool!). I am currently reading through the Resilience issue of Daughters of Promise. I am nondenominational but some of my favorite Youtubers are Mennonites and I grew up in Central PA around Mennonites. I ascribe to many of the same beliefs and values. Some mysteries that I have really liked are written by Christian author Dr. Richard Mabry. Heart Failure is a good one. Chris W.

  3. Magazine- the Missouri Conservationist. Beautiful pictures and articles in Missouri. Nudges to get out in nature for health. Places to go camping... I enjoyed actually reading the whole issue instead of skimming.

    The Little Black Hen by Lynnita Hege. I read this to my little children.

    Essays. I wasn't sure what fit this classification but I read from several books: No Risk Ranching, Fascinating Womanhood, and Sixpence in Her Shoe.

    Listened in the van with my younger children on the ride for grocery pickup. The Velveteen Rabbit. I was struck by the resemblance to redemption by Jesus.

    I read by the creek. I like your creek pictures. I love to sit with my feet in the water while the children swim.

    Thank you for the challenges! Fun to have a little goal like this to work on!


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