Books Every Kid Should Read Before 7th Grade

April 21, 2018

Why 7th grade? Because there’s an entire new category of literature out there for older kids, so get these books in before they’re ready to move on from talking mice and elementary school folly. Whether reading independently or as a read-aloud, these are books your kids will remember for a lifetime.

I fell in love with books as a little girl sitting in the aisles of our local library where my dad worked. Stories weren’t just ink on paper, they were proof that my imaginative suspicions were true; our world was full of adventure and beauty that my young mind could fathom. From the pages of books, I learned that everyone is living a story that’s worth telling. When my first daughter was born in 2002, it was a natural transition to share my love of books with her, and then a few years later my next two daughters as well.

We are now a family of five who loves a great read. My appreciation for a well-told story (and the authors who write them) have only deepened over the years. Books still remind me that our world is full of so much more than meets the eye. It’s our pleasure to share our family’s Bookshelf with you. Please don’t hesitate to email me with more suggestions or ideas. We’re always on the lookout for great new authors too!

Happy Reading!

This post about books contains Amazon Affiliate Links. This means that I receive a small commission on sales that result from links in this post. The funds help support this website. Thank you! 


March 25, 2018

Tomorrow’s reflections are today’s decisions, so live with all the wisdom, humor, and grace of which good memories are made.

Experiencing Loneliness in the Fullness of Motherhood

January 17, 2018

Raising and homeschooling three chatty daughters means our home is rarely (read: never) quiet. Opinions and ideas are thrown around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. Even with their constant noise all around, my heart began to experience something new and unfamiliar: deep loneliness…Read the full article HERE

(Article originally appeared on HERE)

Remembering Spring

January 17, 2018

I grew up watching my grandma fuss over her summer annuals. Her daily routine required a walk outside before the Missouri heat settled in to check on the flowerbeds dispersed throughout her country yard. She’d step across the dewy lawn to purge wilting petunia heads while cooing over that day’s latest blooms. The thicket of tiger lilies were my personal favorite; growing wild yet sophisticated to my 8 year old mind.

My grandma and I still chat about those summer strolls through her yard fondly. What stands out to me after nearly three decades aren’t the lessons in horticulture I gained from traipsing through the yard by her side, but the joy she expressed over something so temporary and fragile. She looked at the blooms and saw last month’s seedling and last week’s spouting bud. I looked at them and saw a plant I dared not trample in a rambuncious game of hide-n-seek: fragile. I saw lunch for wild, twitchy nose rabbits (grandma called them pests) I found so adorable: temporary.

Experience has a way of training our eyes to see in new ways. My definition of temporary and fragile hasn’t changed, but how I value experiences allowing me to express an eternal joy over the temporary and fragile reality of life certainly has.

A freshly fallen, perfectly formed snowflake before it melts

Nerves over our teenager learning to drive

Jellyfish navigating around boats and docks in the harbor


Grandpa’s dementia-free stories

Mountaintop view out of the airplane window

Snuggles from an aging cat

Hands up high on the rollercoaster

Laughing with the person I married 18 years ago


This past year we moved our family across the country to the Pacific Northwest where giant evergreens replaced Midwest fields of wheat and cattle. In the middle of a season of change I found joy in an all familiar place, a garden. The NW coastal areas are home to breathtaking public gardens where forests of rhododendrons flourish and cherry blossoms crown aisles of rich clover. Once again, I’m looking around reacquainting myself with joy found in the temporary and fragile. Since joy and gratitude go hand-in-hand, I’m thankful for opportunities to trade grief over what ‘was’ into joy over what ‘is’ and rejoice in the hope for all things eternal.

Psalm 103: 13-17

The LORD is like a father to his children,

tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

For he knows how weak we are;

he remembers we are only dust.

Our days on earth are like grass;

like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

The wind blows, and we are gone—

as though we had never been here.

But the love of the LORD remains forever

with those who fear him.


What’s Your Family’s Rest Plan?

January 17, 2018

“The days are long, but the years are short,” I heard a wise parent say, but there’s something about the endless calling of parenthood that both blesses beyond measure and exhausts beyond means. Parents are emotionally and physically invested in this occupation of preparing people to be the next generation of life-givers. In order to give our best, we need to be our best, and that requires something that isn’t given enough credit in our overly-caffeinated, deadline-driven, production-measuring society: rest.

Click HERE for more on establishing a family rest plan.

Snowfall in Stanley Park

November 20, 2017
Snowfall in Stanley Park, Dec 2016

Snow didn’t fall across Vancouver, it dumped like confetti on New Year’s Eve. Friends had warned us not to expect snow in the lower mainland, so when reality exceeded our expectations we bundled up like all good Midwest natives know how to do, and trekked into the heavy powder. Gripping my matte black umbrella high overhead to shield my exposed camera, I walked the paths of Stanley Park snapping photographs of Vancouver’s winter wonderland.

Out of the Fog

November 20, 2017


Out of the Fog, Vancouver 2017 J. Meyerpeter

I turned down the sidewalk leading to seawall just beyond our ground floor townhouse tucked under the 40 story tower. The morning sun yawned under the blanket of fog. I knew my fingers would get cold resting on the camera dials (gloves would’ve been wise) but the ever-changing characters of fog and light are impatient subjects to capture. Each step toward the water drew my eyes further across the rippling waves until visions of sailboats and yachts formed out of the fog; sleeping figures off the shore. 

A Priceless Work of Art

March 16, 2017


Museum, Art, Kansas City, Nelson Atkins Museum
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

One of my favorite places in all of Kansas City is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. As a preschooler in the ’80s I walked those gray marble halls to my first art class in the museum’s lower level and still, to this day, wonder whether that waxy security guard just might be real. A trip to the museum isn’t complete until I stand face to canvas before my favorite painting, Claude Monet’s Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74). It depicts a city view of wintry Paris…(continue reading HERE)


Claude Monet, 1873 Boulevard de Capucines