Growing up, I thought there was only one kind of Advent calendar — the chocolate kind. But with my own little ones, we’ve added on a few extra traditions for the days leading up to Christmas. (You can check out the Christmas tree ornaments we made here!) One of which is our Book Advent Calendar — a family favourite!

Every year, I individually wrap our collection of children’s Christmas books. Then, every day from December 1st until December 24, the kids open one.

Not only does this help get them excited about reading, but it’s also a great countdown tool for Christmas day. (And allows them to open a few presents in advance — meaning less temptation to peek at the actual gifts!)

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Book Review

The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You
by Holley Gerth

As a school-aged child, there was always one note guaranteed to show up on my school report card“Liz needs to speak up more in class.”

The fact that I’d lose participation points for being quiet used to drive me nuts. I didn’t see the outspoken kids being docked grades for being too loud. Couldn’t they see that I was participating in class in my own way? I was helping other students one on one during lunch. I was listening attentively and getting straight A’s in all my written assignments. If you asked me to do something, I would do it. And if you gave me advance notice, I’d be fully prepared to present in front of the class.

It was just the spur of the moment, classroom discussion that felt overwhelming to me.

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Hey bookworms, this one’s for you!

If you’ve been following along with MommyMannegren for a while now, you may be familiar with my annual reading challenge — 52 books in 52 weeks. For the past three years, I’ve hosted this challenge here on my website. Each year, the list has fifty-two unique prompts. Match one book to one prompt and work your way through the challenge. Sounds fun, right?

I started this challenge in 2018 and was blown away by the response. Each year’s challenge has been a huge success but in early 2020, we started growing exponentially. (I guess we all had a bit more free time for reading?) So much so, that this summer, we launched a website specifically for the challenge.

So, if you’re looking for this year’s challenge, you can find it over at www.the52book.club.

The 52 Book Club website is the place to go for all challenge-related book stuff (like reviews, giveaways, updates about the reading challenges, etc.) Whether you’re an avid reader, or just wanting to get back into some good books, I highly encourage checking it out! (Not everyone reads all 52 books, and that’s okay too!) You can also sign up for e-mails to stay in the loop!

Ready for a 2021 challenge? I’ll meet you over at The 52 Book Club!

Happy reading!
Liz

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

One of my favourites things is listening to stories.

We each have them. The story of how we came to be — of what shaped us and transformed us. The words that describe us. The gritty and grace-led moments that spread their way across the pages of our lives. It’s uniquely ours.

And the stories that I love most are the ones that feel authentic and messy. The ones that grapple with real-life questions and face them head on, rather than hiding beneath filters or Instagram-perfect poses. The ones that point to an over-arching story that reaches far beyond our day-to-day lives. The story that points us to Christ. To a greater story.

This is the premise that immediately drew me to Sam Collier’s book.

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In my opinion, the only thing better than book mail is surprise book mail. And I am so excited to share with you this giant box of Christian fiction that I just received from Martin-Graf Communications.

This is my very first unboxing video. It was a ton of fun to make and I can’t wait to show you what books I got. Be sure to watch the video and THEN scroll down to enter to win one of two books from this unboxing!

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A year ago, this little book on pregnancy loss was released.

It’s a book that I poured everything into. A book that I have wept over and prayed on. Edited and loved and gently nudged out into the world. This messy collection of broken stories and longing hearts, peels back the layers of grief to reveal something raw and tender. Hope.

Because hope after a pregnancy loss isn’t a myth.

And yet, we know that the road isn’t an easy one. The pain of losing a child is sharp and messy; a fire hotter than anything we’ve had to endure before. Standing in the furnace, the flames press in around us — blistering and suffocating. Blindly, we call out to be rescued. For God to remove this pain. It’s too much too handle.

But He draws us closer still.

And over the roar of the inferno, we hear the still small voice. The voice of a shepherd, steady and true. The voice of One calling us to press in and dig deep. To lift these hands seared by fire lifted high in surrender.

Not to run. But to embrace.

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**I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.**

“I think we actually have a joy crisis on our hands. We’re living in a society that’s so characterized by stress, worry, busyness, and fear, and we don’t seem to understand how the removal of joy from our faith experience is affecting not only our ability to trust God but also our ability to grow in endurance, character, and hope.”

Reading through Talasi Guerra’s new book, “Joy Like a Mountain” these words jump out at me — a joy crisis. In the following pages, this is exactly what Talasi aims to explore. Challenging her readers to dig deeper, she asks, “In a world characterized by stress, worry, depression, and fear, what does it take to generate joy and reclaim the lives we were created to live?”

Exploring the critical connection between joy and suffering, Talasi offers a profound view of how intentional joy can revolutionize the gruelling journey up the mountain of life.

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Post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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You know when a book lands in your lap at exactly the right moment?

That was this book for me.

Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson is a coffee-table worthy beauty. But it’s not just your average, “home-decorating how-to.” Instead, Shannon invites readers to look at the purpose behind a lovely home — one designed to meet your family’s individual needs, to offer hospitality to those around us, and to be stewards of what God’s given us.

Our family is currently knee-deep in renovations and moving prep. As I write this, walls are going up to create my husband’s soon-to-be office and the floor of our new home has been stripped of its previous carpet. For weeks now, I’ve been studying paint chips and dreaming of IKEA closet organizers and how to best arrange living-room furniture. And for someone who knows what I want my home to look like, but just doesn’t know how to achieve it, Home Made Lovely couldn’t have come at a better time.

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I usually inhale books. The pages dance beneath my fingertips, blurring and whirling as I hungrily suck in words. But every once in a while, a gem is uncovered. A book so meticulously crafted, I can’t help but savor it, letting it steep and soak into the recesses of my imagination. It’s a pleasant surprise to unfurl the first chapter and immediately know, this one’s a keeper.

Set the Stars Alight was that book.

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Summer Book Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but summer is one of my favourite seasons for reading. Lounging in the sun by the lake, a cool drink in one hand and a book in the other — does it get any better? That’s why I am super excited to share with you this AMAZING summer giveaway! Sponsored by Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, one of my Canadian readers is going to win a box of eight, beautiful books — perfect for any end-of-summer getaways!

Rules:
  • Enter at the bottom of this page.
  • Contest is ONLY open to those with a Canadian mailing address
  • ONE winner will be drawn on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Ready? Here’s what you could find in your summer reading pile: Read more

Hello readers!

Guess who has some exciting news?

As many of you know, I host an annual reading challenge. This challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, is a yearly list compiled of (you guessed it) fifty-two unique prompts. Find a book that matches each prompt, read it, and check it off the list. The result is a fun way to mix up your reading, all the while trying new authors and genres.

I created this challenge back in 2018 and invited all of you to join along. This year was now my third year creating and running the challenge — and I’ve been blown away by the response. Each year, our little group of participants has grown and grown. This year, we have over 13,000 challenge members on our Facebook group. It’s an active and incredible community of readers. Not only is it a place to find new reads, it’s also a great way to connect with fellow bookworms.

Because of all this amazing growth, I am excited to announce that the challenge is now getting its own space!

Welcome to The 52 Book Club! (www.the52book.club)

Moving forward, all future challenges will be released and found via our new website, The 52 Book Club. This new branding will hopefully make it easier for future participants to find, as well as help clarify what we’re all about. (You can head over there now to see a full list of past and current challenges, as well as a collection of frequently asked questions and “how to’s.”)

This rebrand has also given us a bit of opportunity to expand. You can now find and join in with the challenge on Instagram! (www.instagram.com/the52bookclub)

We are so excited for this new “chapter” and invite you all to join in!

Happy reading!

– Liz

The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?

I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.

I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.

I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.

These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you. Read more