Reading Challenge Book 20 – Becoming Mom Strong

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 20 of 50

Becoming Mom Strong: How To Fight With All That’s In You For Your Family & Your Faith written by Heidi St. John. I was on Amazon looking at a wish list I created for books I wanted to buy/read. I wanted something different to read since I have been reading a lot of self-help and factional books. I looked up on LIbby to see what was available. It was a very encouraging book and of course I felt connected because she had seven kids and I’m about to have six. Then again her kids were a lot further apart than mine. When she wrote the book her first born was 26 and her last born was 6. She touches on a few things that I have felt for a while such as the church has failed to teach us how to study the bible on our own. I have been in church since I was 16 and even went to bible college. I still feel like I have no idea how to study the bible and my knowledge is not where it should be by this point.

She talks about being mom strong and being a warrior for your family. This hit a cord because the fact that I’m currently pregnant with baby number 5 and 6 is a miracle in itself. My family almost came to an end at two kids because our path was heading down towards a divorce. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy with our third and things changed for the better after giving birth to our third. Two years I prayed, fasted, believed, and hoped things would not end the way it was appearing. Two years I battled a lot of ups and downs. I should say it was more then two years but it was at the almost two years mark when things began to change. It still hasn’t been easy but I have fallen short in being the prayer warrior I need to be for my family. I know I personally need to be praying for my family daily and fighting against what wants to come against our family unit. I still struggle from those two years and still have a lot of processing and healing but our family story didn’t end at two kids but now we are going to be parents to SIX!

Now this book really focus on moms who are born again believers. She quotes scriptures and tries to be very encouraging. I was about 10 minutes from finishing the book when I was listening to it during that time of the night that is super stressful with the kids. I was trying to get the kids ready for bed and I allow them to watch a Minecraft related video before they head to bed. It was playing when I came into the room and my oldest who has been running to the bathroom all day because he is refusing to sit long enough to let his body work. He was sitting on the couch with his sister and he began to cry because she was has fallen forward and was laying on him. He needed to run to the bathroom YET AGAIN! He didn’t want to get up in fear his sister would fall off the couch (he is a great big brother). I came over and got her as he ran off. By this point I was done with the day. I am feeling so uncomfortable with my pregnancy. My feet are swollen, my hands are swollen and they hurt like crazy, my body feels like it can’t stretch anymore, the babies are always moving and when they move a certain way it hurts, I can’t breath, I’m tired, and just want to be able to do normal life things. I tell you all that because the author was talking about being mom strong and in that moment I was not feeling mom strong. I started to cry because I feel like I’m failing my kids. I was so annoyed that my son has gone to the bathroom MULTIPLE times today and we gave him meds yesterday that clearly didn’t help.

She also talks about the importance of being surrounded by other moms and I am feeling the pain of not having that at this time. This seasons of life has been interesting and challenging but I’m glad I listened to this book. It inspired me in some ways, reminded me of things I already knew, and made me want to start becoming a warrior once again. My house feels so crazy and I feel like I a crazy person right now. I am dealing with so many emotions and trying to not let the craziness of this world keep me from moving forward. I do find my belief and praying to be important to me. I know what the power of prayer can do and I have allowed it to become an afterthought. It’s time to get back on my knees and pray for my kids, pray for my marriage, pray for my family, and our future.

Reading Challenge Book 19 – Stolen Innocence

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 19 of 50

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs written by Elissa Wall with Lisa Pulitzer. It’s not easy to listen to these type of stories because there are so many emotions a person can have as they listen. Elissa Wall is the younger sister of Rebecca Musser the author of book 17 on my list. They both grew up in the FLDS and left under the “Prophet” Warren Jeffs. She was forced to marry her first cousin at the age of 14 years old. When she finally left she was encouraged to press charges against Warren Jeff and her now ex-husband for what happened to her during her marriage.

It’s easy to judge the people who come from the FLDS and it’s easy to judge if you never take the time to truly understand. After listening to two books from two women from the same family it sounds like they all had this natural drive to know more. If I understand correctly out of all their sibling meaning same mother and father I think there are only two left in FLDS which are their younger sisters. The boys were all pretty much forced out over time – actually there is one other sister that was also married to Rulon Jeffs (Warren’s Father). I do not know if she ever left or not and there were 14 kids all together from their mother and father. I won’t go into a lot of details but the amount of lost their mother has gone through is unimaginable. Elissa and Rebecca share how they had seen their mother one last time and since these books were written in 2008 and 2014 we are left to assume that is still the case. A mother who was born and raised in this community she could not walk away. Their father was not born and raised but came in with his first wife. There family has a lot of heartache and issues without the help of the prophet.

I think it safe to say that Warren Jeffs is a narcissist and if he wouldn’t of tried to destroy so many lives he may still be in his position and doing even more harm. I know that there are still people to this day that are still following him even though he is in jail. It breaks my heart that there are so may women who still believe in what they have been taught despite all they have seen. I do admire that Elissa got to a point where she would no longer take the abuse she got from her “husband”. She also tells how the only reason why she did not leave sooner was so she could be near her mother and sisters. This book covered the court case in Utah and Elissa was a leading witness to the whole case. During this case Warren Jeffs had three attorneys and I’m curious to know more about the woman on his legal team. He decided to represent himself in Texas. I can’t imagine it’s easy to represent someone like Warren as you are provided with multiple evidence of the crimes he is saying he is not guilty.

As of right now I don’t have any more books from any members that left FLDS. I know there are videos I could watch talking more about what happened. I started to watch one video Preaching: Evil A Wife on the Run with Warren Jeffs. This features a wife he married after his father died her name is Naomi and if you read Rebecca’s book you learn about Naomi and I am pretty sure I know why Warren married her in secrets and chose her to go into hiding. He used her to tell the people he was suppose to be the next prophet despite him not being the oldest of Rulon children.

Disclaimer: I couldn’t find a number 19 photo on Pexels because all the picture that came up has something to do with COVID.

Reading Challenge Book 18 – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 18 of 50

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance written by Angela Duckworth. I was listening to a sermon the other day when the pastor began to talk about this book Grit. If I remember correctly back in 2020 or early 2021 I was making up a reading challenge list for myself. I was looking at other peoples book list online and I think I remember seeing this book on a list. I went to a Goodwill Outlet and found a hard copy of the book. I picked it up to add to my reading list. I am about 90% sure that I ended up getting rid of the book when I was moving again because I didn’t think I would ever get to it and to be honest I didn’t really know what the book was about. I just picked it up because I saw the title on a list and so happened to find a copy for cheap. Now fast forward to 2022 and since the title came up again I decided to check it out.

I picked up the audiobook on Libby and finished in a few days. I found the topic interesting and glad I finally “read” it. I have always struggled with the general idea of intelligence. I thought the only way to measure a person intelligence was how well they did at school. I remember a fellow classmate who I went to school with since Elementary age, his name was Matt (he passed away a few years ago). He was this red headed boy who I believed was a genius, he was in a lot of advanced classes and he was always winning some reward. I remember we were in class together our last year of high school and he was talking to his friends. He went off about how he doesn’t understand why everyone thinks he is so smart. I remember thinking to myself all the reasons why I thought that all those years I have been in class with him. Now that I’m older I think it’s interesting that he felt that way and I honestly think he meant it when he said he didn’t understand. When I was in college I learned about multiple intelligence theory and I was immetelly intrigue. I have always thought I was stupid due to the fact I did not do well in school. I won’t go into a lot of details but the reality is I wasn’t stupid just lazy. I did not care enough to do what I needed to do to get high grades. I did what I had to to get a passing (sometime barely passing) grades.

The books talks about people who have grits and people who do not. Just because someone is smart does not mean they have grits. This made me think of a handful of people who I know who have high IQ’s and they were doing things below their potential. If I go with this theory then it makes since – they don’t have the grits to do other things. Ok I keep saying the word grit but not really explaining it. The general idea is a person who does not give up no matter what happens along the way. A person is more likely to be successful not because of how smart they are but how much they keep pressing forward. She shares multiple stories of people who did not give up on a dream just because they were faced with a set back or a challenge. She developed a way to measure a person grits and when she was first developing this concept she gave the test to students at West Point. They found they knew who would and would not make it to the end of the training due to this test or survey she handed out. I know on some level I don’t have a lot of grits but I want to start. I am tired of living the way I am and I know that if I want to see change I have to start pushing myself.

She talks about a concept about fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. This was developed by another person and I found the book she quoted from at a yard sale this past weekend. I plan on reading it because I found this topic interesting. I want to set a good example for my kids and since this is the way I am working on myself during this crazy time in my life. I know I have to stop giving up on something before I even start. I have to work on being a more grit-ful (made up word) person. I believe with the little glimpse to the concept fixed mindset vs. growth mindset; that I am a person with a fixed mindset and I don’t like that. I want to change that which is why I want to read more about it. I want my kids to always want to try new things and no matter what happens they continue to try. There are people who seem to have a natural ability but that is the exception not the rule.

Reading Challenge Book 17 – The Witness Wore Red

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 17 of 50

The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice written by Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook. I believe at the end of 2018 I picked up a book called “Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father-Warren Jeffs-Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult” written by Rachel Jeffs. I forget the reasoning behind it but this was the start of me watching clips and reading up about the story of Warren Jeffs. I went through a phase where I started to look into multiple cults such as NXIVM and the People Temple movement. I don’t like to read a lot of stories with graphic details about people doing things to other people. I don’t read about real life murders nor watch shows that talk about that. I have a few family members who love to watch those kind of stories. I even have to be careful watching certain shows due to the psychology behind it such as Criminal Minds. I made the mistake of staying in the room when someone watched a few episode of Criminal Minds and it messed with my head for a LONG time. I couldn’t see the one actor in any other roles without thinking about the story line. Anyway I am getting way off topic.

I’m sorry but this is my life right now but I heard about this book from a vlog – the woman went through a stage of reading books about the FLDS. I follow someone on YouTube who left the FLDS at 18 but he didn’t have any of these type of experiences that you read in these books. I listened to the book on Libby and I found it interesting. What I liked about the this book is how you got to hear a different side of what happened in Texas when they did the “raid” back in 2008. I won’t go into a lot of details but the author was married at the age of 19 to the prophet who was in his 80’s. She tells her story and why she decided to leave. The biggest thing is because she was married to the prophet she got to see the ins and outs of everything. She also had a lot of interaction with the son of the prophet who took over once he died. The son was Warren Jeffs and with every different sources I have read/listen too has said the same thing – things got weird and strike once he took over. I don’t really remember much from the 2008 raid but I do remember seeing things in the news about children being separated from their mothers and I thought that was crazy. The book gives you the ins of what was going on during those time and why things played out the way they did. She played a part in these big cases.

Now this may not make much sense if you haven’t read this book but when I was listening to it I felt something was off about her brother and the man she ended up marrying (they later got a divorce). If I remember correctly the brother was forced out due to his safety and the guy she married left with her. The two guys both grew up in this environment and even though they were not living that lifestyle it felt that their attitude and behavior still lined up with what they were taught. Men are taught that women do not have a voice, they have to keep sweet, and they are pretty much property. I wonder what ever happened to the brother but I did see he wrote a book that he self-published saying how his sister book was false. It’s no longer available and I read some of the reviews and it sounds like he was treating his sister the way she would of been treated if he was still apart of the FLDS. He was trying to discredit her and saying she made it all up. I read that he didn’t even finish her book but he wrote a book to discredit it…? Other members of FLDS did the same thing especially during the raid and trails of the men. Her now ex-husband seemed like he wanted to have multiple wives or at least have other choices. He also treated her a certain way when she was trying to help the officers in Texas.

Her sister wrote a book about her experience and I plan on listening to it. I am not sure when I’ll get to it but it’s been added to my “want to read” list on GoodRead. I’m afraid her book might be a little more graphic on what happened to her since I kind of gathered her experience was a little more traumatic than the author of this book mostly because she was married to a younger (but older man).

Reading Challenge Book 16 – Operation Paperclip

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 16 of 50

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America written by Annie Jacobsen. This was a book that was talked about on another vlog and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. I definitely would not physically read this book but listening to it was interesting. It’s a very factional book since it talking about documentation that was open after a certain amount of time. I began to listen to the book and had a thought why would anyone want to bring Nazi scientists back to America. Than it hit me if America didn’t not do it then another country would and a lot of the information they got their hands on could of changed the future.

If you like history and learning about the different perspective I would recommend the book. I was amazed at the arrogance of the scientist. Then again I guess you don’t get to where they were without thinking very highly of themselves. The one scientist was able to keep from getting caught for awhile and then after he did get caught he ended up doing a 17 months sentence. This was truly amazing to me because for what these scientist did they should’ve gotten life. If I understood correctly due to more documentation that were found later caused this one scientist to be taken off a lot of boards he was being paid to be on due to expertise. It was not just the scientist that was brought over but their families. They were able to charge some of the scientist with war crimes because at some camps there was a survivor who could talk about their experience. I have never been a history buff and I didn’t really know much and I know there is so much more information that needs to be read to truthly understand WWII.

The author talks about the files that were open but she also reached out to talk to people first hand. She was able to explain certain decisions and how due to some not following orders to a T. Were able to birth Operation Paperclip. She even shares how certain people who were aware of this project try to fight against it over time. The author of the book has a handful more books about files that were sealed that was opened due to time and pursuit. I am planning on checking out the Area 51 book at some point so you may see that come up in the future.

Reading Challenge Book 15 – Just Mercy

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 15 of 50

Just Mercy written by Bryan Stevenson. My best friend also spends a lot of her time reading multiple books. We typically don’t read the same things and rarely do we ask each other to read a book. I don’t think I have ever asked her to read a book or suggested one. I can think of three books she has asked me to consider reading. I started two of the three books but never finished them. She asked me recently to read this book and since it was available on Libby I was open to listening to the book. I would not of chose it on my own and I think this was a suggestion on one of the vlogs I watch and had no interest. I am learning that this topic has become near and dear to my best friend. We have not connect yet about this book but I know at some point we will discuss it the next time we talk on the phone.

I can understand the important and need for men and women like Bryan Stevenson. Bryan is a lawyer and this book was written by him to share his story of how he began to fight for people who are placed in incarceration. Primarily those who were put on death row. We need people who is passionate about this topic and who are willing to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. I won’t give anything away just in case you want to read the book and there is a movie. I am not sure if the movie is about the whole book or about one of the key cases he talks about in the book. I watched the trailer just to see and I can tell the first interaction was dramatize for the movie. I personally am not passionate about this topic but I can appreciate those who are passionate. I can honestly say I do not know what I’m passionate about but it’s books like these that I need to expose myself to from time to time. You never know what might draw you in and spark a desire to learn more.

There were a few stories that got my blood boiling but then again if it involves a child then I am going to react. I’m a mother of six kids and there are certain things that make me angry when I read/listen/watch. There are certain movies and episodes I can’t watch without having some kind of reaction to it because I now see life through the lens of a mother. I remember watching an episode of In Plain Sight where a woman gave birth to a son and the Marshell’s found the baby in the hotel room alone. The mother was planning on selling the baby and I just given birth to my first son. Needless to say I was crying and snuggling my child. It is easy to ignore these issues but I think we should educate ourselves in multiple things. I may of not wanted to read this book but I appreciate having some information about the injustice that has happened over the years and still happening. I was sharing some of the book with my husband and I said something about the system is broken but he pointed out that the system is run by people. We often fail to remember that and if we can change the people who are running it then we will see real change.

One last thing – I do believe we should NEVER put children in the same prison with grown men. I am surprise how often this happens and that was one of the things that made me angry.

Reading Challenge Book 14 – The Art of Thinking Clearly

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 14 of 50

The Art of Thinking Clearly written by Rolf Dobelli. I am going to be straight with you but the only reason why I listened to this book was because my husband brought a hard copy of the book. I wanted to be able to talk to him since I have never really shown a lot of interest in what books he chooses to read. This book had short chapters and it is the type of book that should be read. I do have a hard copy I could grab and look over – I may look at it some day to re-read a few chapters. The authors has some pretty strong belief and you can tell as you read this book. There was a lot of interesting points but I feel on some level there is always more ways to see each point. Then again it also depends on what you believe and how you interrupt the world. If you are believer of God then you may not like his view on certains points he makes throughout the book.

I cannot give you an example but I will say there was a few times as I listened that I could understand why this book is an interest to my husband. The funny thing is we did end up talking and he said that he felt that he could of written a book like this one. I told him then he should do it because I often hear him point out how he has been saying x, y, and z over the years. I also told him he should write a book on how to not be a good boss. I hope one day he does finally decide to write a book because he is pretty wise in many areas of life and he often notices things that a lot of people may not notice. I have always told him that he has a way of explaining things that drawn people into the conversation. I am not going to say if you should or should not read this book. I personally would of never picked this book – mostly because I don’t think I would of ever heard of this book if it wasn’t for my husband. It’s a little outdated since it was written in 2013 and it was interesting to listen to certain parts after experiencing things throughout the pandemic. My husband did say it would be interesting to see what he has to say about a few of the points he made after the last two years.

Reading Challenge Book 13 – The Lazy Genius Way

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 13 of 50

The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done by Kendra Adachi. I picked this book because it was talked about on a vlog and it was available on Libby. It was an easy listen and I for the most part listened to this at a normal speed. I found a lot of the suggestion was very practical. One suggestion I thought was clever but due to the way I do laundry it is not applicable at this time. I wrote a post titled Laundry Rules and I admitted that I never really learned how to do laundry. I mix all our clothes and do not separate by color, delicates, etc. One of my rules is, I do not wash my clothes with towels and sheets. Kendra suggestion instead of separating the clothes with like items but focus on one area of the home. You wash the clothes by rooms. Example: If I would keep my kids clothes in their room. I would wash a load of just Y’s clothes so I could put them away at the same time. I would wash the boys clothes together and put them away. This eliminates having to go to multiple places as you put clothes away.

One other thing I found intriguing was sticking to a set of ingredients you use and only making meals based off those items. Planning, shopping, and cooking is one of the most stressful things in my life. The rise of prices makes it even harder to meal plan and trying to not be completely reliable on processed food. I know we will be entering a seasons that I won’t be able to do a lot of the cooking I enjoy doing but it’s only for a short time. I love when I can use the ingredients I buy for one recipe and use the rest for another recipe. There was a time in my life that I didn’t really care much if I wasted something. It was the way of life but now I hate when I discovered something in the fridge that I never got to and have to throw it away. Typically if this happens it’s because I didn’t realize how much time has passed since the last time I used that item.

If you would like to have some practical ways to life I would recommend listening/reading this book. I believe there is a podcast but I don’t know if I’ll listen. I have a handful of podcast I am working on at this time. There are some things I felt like I already knew but sometimes it’s nice to hear it from another person. According to the GoodRead app I am one book behind my reading schedule but I’m working on a few audiobooks and one was picked because my husband got a hard copy and was planning on reading it. My husband enjoys to read but doesn’t do it often, I have never shown interest in what he choose to read. I figured it would be nice to be able to talk to him about the book once he finished it (which he did while he was traveling).

Reading Challenge Book 12 – The Read-Allowed Family

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 12 of 50

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids – written by Sarah Mackenzie. I brought this book on audible and listened to it at normal speed for a few days. I really enjoyed this book. One of the YouTube channels I followed suggested this book. I’m glad I used a credit because it touch a lot of the things I was already feeling. I love the idea of reading aloud to you children and I have been wanting to apply reading a book at the table when we are having a meal. My kids are young but they do like when I read to them. When we are on car rides with the kids I wanted to start listening to audiobooks because we don’t typically give our kids anything to do while we are traveling. I drove from VA to MS in two days and the kids had no devices and if they had a toy that’s because it was already in the car. I didn’t put on an audiobook until the returning trip and we didn’t finish it that time around. We did finish the book a while later and I enjoyed having that time with the kids. The book was “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.

I was not a strong reader as a child and now that I’m older I really wish I would of been a better reader. I wish I had someone in my life to show me why it was important. I know for a lot of kids they had assigned reading every year but I can honestly say I don’t remember that being the case for my school. I think if you were in the AP classes then you had a list of books to read. I didn’t read any classic until I took a children’s literature class in college. I remember I began to go to the thrift store to find classic books and any book with an award on it. I gave myself reading challenges and I read a few over the years. Now I plan to read them with my kids. I will be exposing myself to books I have wanted to read over the years but I get to experience it with my children. I went to the thrift the store the other day and managed to get four books from the “The Magic Treehouse” series.

It’s my mission to expose my kids to the world of reading and hope they can discover the joy and importance of reading. I have been behind on my challenge but this past week I have been listening to audiobooks when I can, when normally I am listening to other things. I need to get back into the habit of reading/listening to books. I also have a few podcast I want to listen too. I would recommend this book especially if you want to start making reading a priority in your home. The last few chapters gives you a list of books she suggest for different age groups. I think there was a link I could type in at the beginning of the book which I have to go back to listen to because that’s the downside of an audiobook. She has a website and podcast. I haven’t checked it out yet but I plan to start listening in the next week.

Reading Challenge Book 11 – What is Unschooling?

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 11 of 50

What is Unschooling? Living and Learning without School – written by Pam Laricchia. In the fall of 2020 I came across a video on YouTube that had the word Unschooling. I have never heard this word before and I was curious enough to see what it was all about. I listened to the almost hour video of a husband and wife explaining what Unschooling was and how they implement it in their daily life with 9 children. I LOVED the concept and realize on some level I have been doing this very concept with my own kids but none of them were school age. I wanted to to hold out telling my husband about this concept until I have done some more reading. I got a few different books but reading them have not worked out. I started to read this book in Feb 2021 and I am just finishing it April 2022. The kicker is the book was not that long and it was a pretty simple read.

I will say that this book is a good introduction about the concept of Unschooling. The author has a few more books that is considered a series and I have another one in my queue on the book app. According to the app I am 14% into that book. I honestly do not remember starting it so I will have to restart it if I decide to read it. I ended up sharing the idea to my husband before I did a lot of reading on my own. We have agreed to homeschool our kids for years and after the last two years he is on board 110%. He works from home so he can play a role in our kids homeschooling experience.

The other morning he was showing our oldest how adding an e to the end of the word changes the vowel sound in certain words. Example: Cap – a is a short vowel but when adding e the a is now a long vowel.

I do love the idea of unschooling the thing is I do not agree with allowing your child to set his/her own bedtime and only eating what they want to eat. I feel there is a line that has to be drawn because if we let our 3-year-old go to bed when he wants and get up when he wants he would get only a few hours of sleep. Then we would only get a few hours asleep which would not work for our family. He just does not sleep and I have no idea why. He will sleep for a few hours and be up for a few hours and then go back to sleep mostly because he is bored. My oldest would only eat bread if he was given the choice and that isn’t going to be good for him over all. The video I watch actually shared that they do have set expectation and they do have a routine for the kids. It would be pure chaos if they let all nine kids do what they wanted at all times.

My husband is not on board with unschooling and since he is a present father I will not go against what he wants. I say all that because people who are true follower of this method will tell you how you are not a true unschooler. I know on some level I won’t be a typical homeschool mom but I also know that I need guidance to help me stay focus. Now that is a topic for another post – if you want to get a general idea what Unschooling is I would say pick up this book. I still plan on reading a few more books but since my husband is not open to the idea I will honor him, but I do plan trying to apply some of the concepts to our schooling experience.

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