books for 2014

I’m totally stoked that i read (most of) 20 books last year! I’ve come a long way, baby. In 2011 I read 6 books. In 2012, I read 12 books. Last year, 20! So this year, I’m shooting for 25.

2013 Books (in no particular order)

  1. Real Marriage – Mark and Grace Driscoll
  2. The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler
  3. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas
  4. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl – N.D. Wilson
  5. Give Them Grace – Elise Fitzpatrick
  6. The Hole in our Holiness – Kevin deYoung
  7. Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  8. Peter and the Shadow Thieves – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  9. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  10. The Book Thief (skipped part of the middle) – Markus Zusak
  11. Fit to Burst – Rachel Jankovic
  12. Building Her House – Nancy Wilson
  13. Forgotten God – Francis Chan
  14. Power of Prayer – E.M. Bounds
  15. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
  16. 100 Cupboards – N.D. Wilson
  17. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley
  18. Speaking from Among the Bones – Alan Bradley
  19. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
  20. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Foer

Books for 2014 (again, no particular order)

Multiply – Francis Chan (reading this in small group, started last year)
Standing on the Promises – Doug and Nancy Wilson (started last year)

  1. The Drowned Vault – N.D. Wilson
  2. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
  3. Praise Her in the Gates – Nancy Wilson
  4. Live Like a Narnian – Joe Rigney
  5. How People Change – Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane
  6. Gospel-Powered Parenting – William Farley
  7. Five Days in November – Clint Hill
  8. Songs of Willow Frost – Jamie Frost
  9. Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
  10. The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown
  11. The Monuments Men – Robert Edsel
  12. Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth
  13. The Astronaut Wives Club – Lily Koppel
  14. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay
  15. Death By Living – N.D. Wilson
  16. The Grace Effect – Larry Taunton
  17. The Connected Child – Karen Purvis
  18. Thinking. Loving. Doing – John Piper, etc.
  19. Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand
  20. The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini
  21. Same Kind of Different as Me – Ron Hall
  22.  Surprised by Joy – C.S. Lewis
  23. Parenting with Love and Logic – Foster Cline and Jim Fay
  24. My Life in France – Julia Child
  25. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

I think that’s a good mix of non-fiction and fiction, self-help and just for enjoyment. 🙂 I’m excited because as I read good authors, good writers, good words – I am grown, stretched and aspire to better writing and thinking and doing in my own real life.

Books I’m most excited to read: Death By Living, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia was left hanging on a serious cliff at the end of the last book – very, very mean of you, Mr. Bradley), Live Like a Narnian and My Life in France.

Honestly, I’m really looking forward to each title on the list for various reasons. They all interest me, or are subjects about which I’m passionate, or are really needed in my life. Some will be easy reads, some will bend my brain and challenge my thinking. Some will be easy to flip through on my Kindle app while I watch the kids play outside, others will require undistracted silence and a hard copy to hold and underline. But all of them will shape me.

As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Here’s to being a better person with more stories read and more stories to tell and the ability to tell them better in five years. 🙂

What are you reading or hope to read in this new year?

Puelston Family News – Jan 2014

from the desk of Johanna:

Another year has flown by in rapid fashion. Our family has grown by one sweet, beautiful, cute little boy named Grant Richard. He’s kind of big news around here this New Year!

Grant (2 of 49)

Our surprise pregnancy, we also kept his gender a surprise until the very end – for us and for all. So, on December 6, when he finally was served his eviction notice, we were thrilled to learn that “Baby Sprite” was our second son and third born child. We’ve spent the last month cuddling him and getting to know each other.

Jackson and Taylor are both very fond of their brother. Jack was so very excited to have a baby brother. Taylor calls him “Baby Dant” and keeps close tabs on his whereabouts and happiness. When he cries, she sometimes admonishes him with a firm, “Don’t YIKE THAT SOUND, baby Dant!” 🙂 If only she didn’t like her own whining with similar vehemence, haha! Everyone is adjusting to Grant’s arrival with varying degrees of ease. We’re very glad he is part of our family.

Kyle was off for most of December, kindly caring for me and the kids as I recovered from the delivery. We enjoyed the family time and all the fun things the Christmas season brought our way. He’s had a great first year as sergeant of his night shift, and continues to serve as an elder at our church and leads our small group. Kyle has his sights set on running the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth this summer – the kids and I will enjoy cheering him on!

I have had another busy, sleep-deprived, but mostly happy year of raising our kids, keeping us fed and clothed (SO MUCH LAUNDRY!), pursuing our adoption hopes/plans, loving foster kids that were placed with us and trying to grow personally in the spaces around all that life and God brought my way. 🙂 My big plans (subject to change!) for 2014 include repeating all of the activities of last year, with the addition of homeschooling Jackson for Kindergarten in the fall, and getting back into shape after my third pregnancy and birth.

Jackson has become all boy this year, with no toddler left. He took a plane ride to NC with me, Taylor and my parents in January, caught a giant walleye in May, turned four in July and had a lion themed party, started one-day-a-week preschool in September, moved into his big boy room in November, and was a shepherd in the church Christmas pageant in December. Things he loves this year: wrestling with anyone who is game, baseball, soccer, golf, pizza, Imagine Dragons (the band), Backyardigans, Super Why, popsicles, dressing up in his Special Forces uniform, imaginary play and being outside. He is wonderfully and sometimes frustratingly inquisitive (I don’t have all the answers to his why’s!), has an encouraging heart and is quick to help anyone who will let him. We love him so much.

And then we have Taylor – our little spitfire, happy-go-lucky, chatty, spunky, determined and beautiful fairy girl. Her language development at this stage is blowing us away – she talks and talks and talks! This summer she surprised us when she counted to 17 – what?! Taylor turned two in October and enjoys playing cops and robbers with her big brother as much as she likes fairy costumes and ladybugs. She loves to color, bedeck herself with stickers, go swimming, blow bubbles, “hold you” (have me hold her), eat oranges and cookies, go to the park and likes to watch Daniel Tiger, Peep and the Big Wide World, and Curious George.

Grant is too little to like much more than having a clean diaper, a tummy full of milk and being cuddled. And that’s awesome. 🙂 He’s already four weeks old. That went fast!

And though we hoped this year would bring home a child through adoption, that wasn’t in the Master’s plan. 🙂 Still plugging away at the next step – namely, saving and raising the money we need. You can check out http://www.togetherforadoption.org/thepuelstons if you would like to help us with that. If you didn’t read the update to our adoption journey, take a peek here. Hoping for a child home from Haiti by December of 2016!

As we sail into all that 2014 holds for our family, we leave you with this quote from the Puritan’s Prayers; “Your goodness has been with me during another year, leading me through a twisting wilderness, in retreat helping me to advance, when beaten back making sure headway. Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead; I hoist sail and draw up anchor, with You as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past.”

With Love,
Johanna, Kyle, Jackson, Taylor, and Grant

2013 Highlights –

  • Johanna, Jackson and Taylor traveled to North Carolina with the rest of Johanna’s family to witness her brother Nate’s graduation from Special Forces training. Super proud of our soldier! The kids really enjoyed flying on a plane and we also got to see some great friends while we were there.
  • Kyle and I enjoyed a chilly weekend getaway to Green Bay, WI to see JJ Heller in concert. We also went on a fascinating tour of Lambeau Field. Cheese, music, and beer = great time.
  • Found out we were pregnant with number three just after Easter. Happy surprise!
  • Completed our home study, the first of many steps toward adopting.
  • A full summer of fun events, including birthdays and Backyard Bible Club and another wonderful visit to the North Shore with Kyle’s family.
  • Took a trip over the Fourth of July to Dunbar, WI to visit our friends’ the Patz Family at Northland Camp. Such a fun weekend!
  • The MN State Fair! It was a big hit with both kids this year.
  • Johanna flew to Ohio to be the matron of honor in her friend Lindsey’s wedding. An honor and a joy.
  • Jack started preschool. Loves it!
  • Our 7th anniversary celebrated with a day trip to Duluth.
  • Grant Richard arriving in December, one week and one day past his due date.
  • Baby snuggles for all!