On My Bookshelf: Spring 2014


I am so excited about this stack of books!  My husband and I each took a bit out of our income tax return to spend on whatever we wanted.  He chose to renew his MLB.com subscription so he can watch live streaming of baseball games and I, of course, spent my money on books!

I wrote HERE about my goals for 2014, which included reading a book each week.  I also mentioned that I want to read 4 books on marriage as part of my marriage goals for the year.  This Momentary Marriage and The Husband Project are the first 2 books on that list.  Although I have a fantastic relationship with my spouse, I am looking forward to focusing on being intentional about fostering that relationship.

As you may have noticed, I have several books that have a common theme: balance & living simply.  I have been walking through an extremely restless season for the past few months, and unfortunately, the next six months will be even more crazy. We are moving to Boston at the end of the summer and recently found out that we have to move out of our home 10 weeks before that move.  It’s like having a serving of hectic with a side of chaos!  Because of this, I have chosen several books to help keep me centered & focused.  Balancing it All, You’re Going to Be Okay, and Notes From a Blue Bike are all books I am really looking forward to reading during this season.

I also picked up Jennie Allen’s new book, Restless.  I absolutely adore Jennie’s heart for women to grow in their relationships with God.  I share that same desire, so it is no surprise that I feel so at home in her writing.  I read Anything last year and it was fantastically life-changing!  Chasing God by Angie Smith also promises to be equally amazing!

I hope to share more of my thoughts about these books here on my blog once I’ve read them.  If you’d like to see what I’ve read so far this year and you have a Goodreads account, you can follow me.  My account name is: Julie Coryell.

What are you reading these days?  I’d love to hear!

Make it great!


Hello December

Hi there, friends!  December is one of my favorite times of year and I was so excited to say Hello to December this year!  This morning we went to church and I was thrilled to find that it was Communion Sunday!  Seriously…what an AMAZING way to usher in this season of Advent!  It was beautiful!

My friend, Stephanie, posed the question today “What are you doing this Christmas to be intentional in making this a season of joy?”  I shared our family’s plans with her and thought I would share them here with all of you!  First and foremost, I want to keep my focus on the reason for this season, and that is Jesus!

So here are the things that we as a family will be doing to focus on Advent, document our memories, make fun memories together, & serve others this Christmas season.


I searched for devotionals that would be good for both Skylar and Hailey.  I wanted to make sure that they would interest Skylar, but also challenge Hailey.  I found the perfect resource!  We are using the e-book Reasons for the Season by Kathy Hutto. I’m looking forward to all the different activities we will do together as a family.

For my personal devotional time, I’m looking forward to using the Advent devotional videos from Ann Voskamp and also following along with the Advent devotional series from Good Morning Girls.



I’m really looking forward to documenting our December with a simplified version of Ali Edward’s December Daily.  This year I will be using one photo from each day, like the one above, dated with these digital elements.  It’s going to be super easy:  snap photo, print, back on chipboard, & attach all photos with rings.  I’ll be sure to show you as the month goes along.


We have a list of activities that we are going to do as a family.  Each day we will do one activity.  Here are a few examples:

-watch a Christmas movie together (this is one we will do multiple times)

-get cocoa and drive around to see the Christmas lights

-bake cookies for our friends and neighbors

-make a CD of our favorite Christmas music and share it with some of our friends

-go to ZooLights with our cousins

-pick out a new ornament from the Christmas Store

We will also choose different service projects as a family.  Some will be simpler than others, but we want to make sure the girls recognize that helping others is what we are called to do.



This morning marked the return of our friendly elf, Gracie.  The girls absolutely love her!  When Skylar walked into the kitchen and saw Gracie, she read the card and said “Oh Gracie!  I missed you too!”  Pretty sure that Chris and I enjoy this way more than the girls do.  Who would’ve thought?  I seriously used to poke fun at people that did this.  You can see the post of silly things that Gracie did last year, HERE.

We are looking forward to a fabulous December and I hope you are too!

What are you doing to make this December full of joy?

Whatever it is, make it great!


Currently: On My Playlist


picture source

10,000 Reasons~Matt Redman

Give Me Words to Speak~Aaron Shust

Can’t Get Over You~Anthem Lights

All I Am~Phil Wickham

Better Than a Hallelujah~Amy Grant

One Thing Remains~Kristian Stanfill

All Around Me~Flywheel

It’s Your Life~Francesca Battistelli

Beautiful Things~Gungor

Lay Me Down~Chris Tomlin

Forever Reign~Hillsong Live

Cornerstone~Hillsong Live

Stronger~Hillsong Live

Love Came Down~Jeremy Riddle

White Flag~Chris Tomlin

Lord, I Need You~Matt Maher

Always~Kristian Stanfill

This is Not the End~Gungor

All of these songs are not only on my iPhone playlist, but I burned them onto a CD as well for our car.  Some of the songs we are currently singing during worship at our church, some are songs I sang at our previous church in New Mexico, and some are songs that people who know my love of good worship music shared with me.  I tend to make a new CD every couple of weeks.  I always ask the girls what songs they would like carried over & if there are any new songs they’d like to add.  Hailey loves to share new songs with us that she has learned at youth group, which I love!

We primarily listen to Christian music.  Why?  Well, the simple answer is I believe that what we put into our minds is what we get out.  I prefer to listen to music that is uplifting, positive, & sets my mind & spirit where it needs to be.  I strive to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.  I don’t want to go to church on Sundays and then be bombarded by worldy garbage the other 6 days of the week.

I also have 2 daughters who have amazing memories!  I don’t want them listening to songs about sex, power, and materialism.  Our kids are impressionable.  I love driving around town listening to them singing words like:

“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me!”

instead of words like:

“I’m bringing sexy back!” or “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it!”

I’m not judging if that is the type of music you listen to, as that is obviously not my place.  I just wanted to share why we have decided to remove music that we once listened to & to primarily listen to Christian music. If the song is not a song that I want my children to hear, I don’t need to be listening to it either.   We are called to pour into the lives of our children, to teach them truth.  I want to show my children how to live, not just tell them. Personally, for me, it comes down to:  Is what I am doing bringing me closer to God or pushing me further from Him?

There are two scriptures that remind me what it is I need to focus on & that I am not of this world.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Collosians 3:2

Please know that I am not trying to stir up debate on whether or not we, as Christians, should or should not listen to secular music. Each and every one of you is entitled to your own opinion on this matter.  This is a personal decision that I came to after seeking God’s will for me on this matter.

I’d love to hear any of your favorite worship songs!

Make it a great week!