December 2013

2013 was an adventurous year for us!  We have exceedingly and richly blessed to have had shared so many good memories and times of joy.  In reflection of the last 12 months, our top 10 events were as follows:

#10 – Completion of our kitchen!  The backsplash was the last remaining item to finish our remodel project from 2012.


#9 – Hostetler family reunion.  It was good to connect with Nicolas’ extended family on his grandfather’s side.


#8 – LK10 conference for equipping house/simple churches.


#7 – September’s excursions and travels which included the following photo at the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival in Palisade.


#6 – Hiking the 14’er of Gray’s Peak. – Kara’s first ever


#5 – Off-roading in “Fern” (our newer jeep).  The below photo was from Hancock pass around the Independence holiday.


#4 – Lots of camping!  With the fire bans in 2102 and little camping because of it, we took full advantage to camp as much as possible, especially being able to do good off-roading in Fern.  The below photo was camping with the 2 oldest Girard girls, Eva and Elise, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Other camping excursions included Deer Creek Campground and Tunnel Campground.


#3 – Being able to help our grandparents at Thanksgiving.


#2 – Our vacation adventure in New Mexico which included the ABQ Balloon Fiesta.


#1 – Family visits from Girards (August) and Reimers (December).




1. Far from Home : The Soul’s Search for Intimacy with God by Joseph M. Stowell  is a traditional draw close to Jesus book. I was disappointed to find traditional thoughts of read scripture and you’ll be close to God, when I have discovered the power of listening to him speak and acting on it.

2. Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low-Trust World by Stephen M. R. Covey and Greg Link is a great book about trust in our world. Much of the focus is business, however he does provide examples in government and in personal relationships. I really enjoyed this read.

3. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard is a deep book expounding on the Jesus’ teaching and how to be a disciple of Jesus.  Great but challenging read, calling us to authentic life and yearning to be like Jesus.

4. The Go Getter by Peter Kyne is a story of a man’s quest for a sales job.  It’s a very small read, with a powerful message. *

5. Empowering Your Health by Dr. Asa Andrew is a book about you changing your health, not just going to the Dr expecting a magic pill.  He talks through mental, chemical and structural and how we can “lifestyle” our way to better health through better choices in food and supplements.

6. The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow by John Zenger and Kathy Stinnett is a coaching book for business leaders.  The biggest thing I got from this book is the importance of feedback for both coach and coachee as well as Prochaska’s Stages of Change including: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance, and Relapse. These are important to keep in mind so that I know what kinds of questions to ask and how to guide based on where a coachee is in this process.

7. Waking the Dead by John Eldredge is a great read of God’s drawing our hearts to his.  I love how Eldredge incorporates stories to illustrate and speaks of his experience in nature, especially here in Colorado.  Excellent book for anyone.

8. The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss is an interesting book of what Ferriss has researched on how to lose fat and get in shape.  Ferriss is not a doctor nor does he claim to be, so the research is all about numbers and some of the suggestions I do not necessarily agree with. . . however it is interesting to hear his data. *

9. Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes is a narrative story of Mary and Joseph of the Bible.  She takes liberties to give the characters personalities and emotions which puts you in the story, though some things she may have said, I do not agree with.  anyway, but it’s a good read to re-emphasize the humanity of Jesus coming to earth as a baby.  The story ends as Mary and Joseph are leaving to flee to Egypt.

10. God Came Near by Max Lucado is an early book of Lucado’s.  It is short snippets of thoughts of God on earth, set in context of his young family in Brazil.  It’s an easy short read, either 1 short chapter a day for inspirational thoughts or as I did almost in a single sitting.

11. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is a book to come back to knowing who Jesus is.  Our modern christian gospel has weakened in this area and this book attempts to point back to the Jesus of power and sovereignty.  It is a great read. . . simply written yet deep.

12. Anna Kerenina by Leo Tolstoy is an amazingly written novel.  It is extremely long, so I got it to listen in the car and was glad since I probably would not have pronounced many of the names correctly.  There is drama and intrigue, sex scandal and family division, suicide and love.  Everything a great novel needs, yet in the end one of the characters comes to full grips with what he believes of God and how that changes his life.  I really enjoyed the book, but probably will not watch the movie as I expect it is mostly about Anna’s love affair.

13. Thou Shall Prosper: 10 Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lapin is about the things that people who are Jewish typically do in regards to money.  They manage it well and therefore by following these “commandments” keep and grow money. Interesting concepts, some that I agree and others that I would not necessarily agree.

14. Six Hours one Friday by Max Lucado is a simple read of short stories depicting reality and how we need to “anchor” to the cross of Christ to live.  Stories from Max’s life or stories from history or stories from Scripture are woven through this book.

15. The Five Love Languages of God by Gary Chapman is under a new name of God Speaks Your Love Language, but the concept is still there that we love and receive love from God through our love language. I like how Dr. Chapman gives examples and illustrations from men and women he’s met, in history, and in scripture to show various love languages.

16. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme is an excellent memoir of Julia’s life abroad mostly France for 6 years.  She talks about how she got started into cooking and the book as well as fun stories of their life in Paris and small towns.  I thoroughly enjoyed the French culture she brings out and after reading this and Julie and Julia I must go to the library and attempt my own french cooking with “Mastering”.

17. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana DeRosnay was a book recommended by one of my students. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel which blended the lives of two women. One a child during the French Round of Hel’deViv round up in Paris in July 1942, the other an American living in Paris researching the horrid events.

18. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo is a quick read that I have been told over and over to read.  I really enjoyed this causal story or the Burpo family and their son’s experience in heaven.  Todd, the dad, shares the story in a way that really drew me in.  I also enjoyed the fact that many of the places he discusses are around the Denver area, so I could really visualize the story, particularly Rose the Tarantula.

19. The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch is a book on how the church needs to transition to the new generations and the idea of missional outlook of church. They outline possible changes as to where the church needs to go.

20. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is the memoir of a young girl who lived in Iran through the revolution and the wars up until the early 90s. It is a great story of a woman who has to find herself through her adventures in Europe.

21. The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien is a classic that I had not ever read before.  With The Hobbit out on movie it made me want to read these “epic” books.  However, I instead listened to it on CD.  I did enjoy listening though as many of the elfish speech and other words I probably would have mispronounced in my head. I do almost wish I hadn’t seen the movie before reading the books as I wonder what my own picture of the characters would have looked like.

22. Rebecca by Daphine Du Maurier is a romantic suspense novel written in the 30’s.  I would not have picked this up on my own, however a student chose it so I paralleled my reading to help with comprehension as needed.  I really enjoyed this book.  It is a very well written novel and without having seen the movie I did not know some of the surprise twists.There is an old black and white movie produced by Hitchcock, I may look into it, since I liked the book so much.

23. Think: Why Crucial Decisions Can’t Be Made in the Blink of an Eye is a book byMichael R. LeGault. I really enjoyed this book that is a bit of a reaction to Blink by Malcom Gladwell.  LeGault gathers scientific data from various sources about how we think or often times do not think, but instead hirer consultants and gurus to think for us.  By think, he means critical thinking.  Interestingly he points his argument to many areas of life including: schools, parenting, government and business.

24. The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to take control of your tasks, time, and talents by Nancy Ratey is a terrific book about how the brain works which show symptoms of ADHD.  I am still slow to say that ADHD is specifically biological, however there are certain symptoms which appear to be universal. These physical and behavioral symptoms can be taught and trained to function otherwise. Ratey uses examples of clients she has helped to change their behavior so that their symptoms are manageable.

25. the Catcher in the RYE by J.D. Salinger is a classic that high schoolers often read.  I do not remember reading it in highschool, but since I was homeschooled that makes sense.  I picked this up to parallel with one of my students.  I did not enjoy it. I guess it’s all about the coming of age of this teenager, but I did not appreciate the language and sexual references.

26. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a very well written, well documented book on the life, political, and historical surroundings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I thoroughly enjoyed all the added history and details of the inside happenings of Germany during the early 1900’s through the end of WW2 in 1945.  My favorite quote from the book comes from a wedding sermon Dietrich wrote in prison for his niece, “It is not love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”

27. The Coaching Manual by Julie Starr is a specific manual of how to for personal coaching.  I really enjoyed the tidbits of practice tips and things to try for me to learn more about how I communicate and observe others.

28. Wheat Belly by William Davis is an eye opening MD’s account and evidence for why not to eat Wheat or even Gluten Free alternatives. Davis goes into the body’s reactions to these ingredients and the history of how wheat has changed in the past 80 years so dramatically that it is harmful to our bodies.

29. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is a classic that I never remember picking up.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and really saw the themes of grace and mercy throughout.

30. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a crazy memoir of this life of being on the street as a family yet having frivolous items. Her family of 6 struggle to eat yet mom is holding on to land in AZ and TX because you do not sell something like land.  It is amazing how she comes out and does well in New York City.  Except for the language I enjoyed this story: I laughed out loud and gawked open mouth at some of the episodes.

31. The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien is the middle book of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I enjoyed reading the full version vs. just seeing the movie.  The dialogue and descriptive language cannot be matched.

32. The ADD and ADHD Cure by Jay Gordon is a natural treatment for a child with ADD/ADHD.  He encourages elimination of wheat/dairy/sugar/artificial  and natural ingredients/coloring, increase in exercise and sleep as a way to help with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

33. Brain Works: the Mind bending science of how you see, what you think, and who you are by Michael Sweeney. Wow, what an interesting book about how our brain works.  I learned much about the way we see things and our perceptions of the world. In general our brain can hold 7 pieces of information at the same time . . . ie phone number or names.

34. Return of the King and the Annals of the Kings and Rulers by JRR Tolkien is the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I enjoyed this much better than the movie as it wraps up many pieces the movie does not including the fight for the Shire.  The annals of the Kings is an appendix to give additional information and background knowledge.

35. Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo is a very intriguing book about the billions of dollars that Africa has received with little to no change in the economy.  Moyo is an African and gives some very convincing arguments as to how and why the situation is not changing despite the money pouring into Africa.  Solutions presented include helping the individual succeed through programs like the Kiva lending website.

36. Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus is a great book with practical steps to understand and practice coaching skills.  It comes from a Christian perspective that emphasizes belief in people that they desire to change and have a good reason for what they do.  Christ is transforming and a coach can be a catalyst for that change.

37. Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips is a little but deep book. The first half Phillips breaks down our misconceptions of God. The second half he builds the case for a magnificent God who loves and cares for his creation.

38. Choice Words by Peter H Johnston is an incredible little book about the words and phrases teachers use to encourage their students to better learning.  These are essentially like coaching questions that are open ended and ask the students to think and analyze their work. The books focus is primarily reading and writing but he does branch out a little bit and talk about generalization to other subject areas. Terrific book for parents and teachers alike!

39. Multiply by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving is a book and study guide to help believers disciple others.  There is also material online to view and add to the study.  I enjoyed the book as a reminder of why we are here, yet felt that it did not have some of the same passion I grew to love about Chan’s earlier works.

40. Two Minute Warning by Bill McCartney and Aaron Fruh is a look at Scriptures and the evidence to support and honor Jewish people.  The argument is that in order to be united under Jesus, the Gentile believers must love and honor Jews so that it brings them to Jesus and thus bringing about the last days.  It is an interesting discussion that I want to continue to think about and dialogue with others.

41. The Autism Revolution: Whole body strategies for making life all it can be by Martha Herbert MD, PhD. with Karen Weintraub is one of the best books on Autism that I have found yet.  I love her scientific approach, yet realization that it is a whole approach and medication is not the end all be all. However, she does claim with finding the strategies that work for a specific person with Autism; she has seen many of the symptoms go away enough so to say that person does not have autism any longer.

42. Make Your Brain Smarter:Increase your Brain’s Creativity, Energy and Focus by Sandra Bond Chapman PhD. with Shelly Kirkland is an amazing scientific yet practical book on the brain.  Chapman gives clear evidence to how the brain works and how to increase brain power and decrease brain drain. Phenomenally written for the lay person to understand yet scientifically proven based from studies out of her brain research center in Texas.

43. Amazing Faith: Stories of Christians in Defining Moments by Thomas A. Shaw, Dwight A. Clough is a great book of short stories of men and women who all graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  These stories tell of people who had a part in ministries worldwide and how they changed the world in their small corner or influenced a wider range of people.

44. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is a great book of adventure.  Spurned on by the first book, Nick and I decided to read this one together this year.  I liked the movie in my head and now may or may not like the 2nd movie; it is yet to be determined.  The book is a little difficult to read out loud as Tolkien has an older style of writing, but it is an excellent book.

This year we were both thankful to be able to help our grandparents, though separately from each other.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving Kara’s Reimer grandparents were in a car accident and both ended up in the hospital.  She flew up to WA to help the transition back to home, while Nick drove to KS to help his Hostetler grandparents transition from their home to an independent living place in North Newton.

Nick was only in KS for the extended weekend, he had the camera and took more pictures.  Kara was able to spend two weeks in WA and enjoyed the extra time with her Aunt, who was also helping the Grandparents. We continue to be thankful that we both have our grandparents still and are grateful every time we get to see them and spend time with them.

Reimer Grandparents

Reimer Grandparents


Hostetler Grandparents

Hostetler Grandparents