Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Prepare Him Room | Marty Machowski

If I had the authority to bestow a title upon anyone, I’d be quick to dub Marty Machowski “The King of Devotionals.” We are reading or have read through several of his books, and each one looks closely at its subject—whether a particular book of the Bible, the entire Bible, one testament of the Bible, or systematic theology—studying it from this angle and that, and inviting the readers into a discussion that gets hands gesturing and minds pondering.

Prepare Him Room, by Marty Machowski | Little Book, Big Story

Prepare Him Room is no exception. Machowski uses a fictional story to stitch together an engaging fabric of Scripture reading, hymns, crafts*, and discussion questions. When we read through this book together last year, I found that that combination worked like magic on everyone from my ten year old to my two year old. (Bonus: Putting the accompanying album on after we finished reading made for excellent Christmas-themed dance parties.)

Prepare Him Room, by Marty Machowski | Little Book, Big Story

*Do you have to do all of the crafts? Of course not! We didn’t. (I honestly can’t recall us doing any of them. Unless baking cookies was one? We did that.)

Prepare Him Room
Marty Machowski (2014)

Welcome, Josephine Joy!

At long last, she’s here! She kept us waiting nine days past our due date, but on Wednesday, Josephine Joy made her debut and was greeted by adoring fans:

All Four | Little Book, Big Story

Lydia and Josephine | Little Book, Big Story

Sarah and Josie | Little Book, Big Story

I love to hear the stories behind baby names, so I’ll share hers with you: we loved the link to Joseph, one of our favorite figures in Scripture, and we couldn’t resist the literary nod to Little Women. Joy is my mom’s middle name and, combined with Josephine, means, “Jehovah increases joy,” which is perfect, because in granting us another daughter, that is exactly what God has done—he has increased our joy. There are layers to this baby’s name, my friends.

And now, I’m signing off for a bit. There’s a baby to be snuggled, after all!


The baby blanket is done; the countdown is on. With only a half dozen days left until this baby is due, our house looks like a nest built twig by twig—if the twigs were baskets of small, pink laundry and empty chocolate bar wrappers.

My husband is diligently working his way through a to-do list that mysteriously grows longer with every item he checks off, and the girls have decided that we must name the baby Rosamund Rose Rosenburg (they even insisted on it with adorable, mom-wilting eyes). I, meanwhile, am doing practical things like napping, re-reading Anne of Green Gablesand taking photos of myself in the mirror.

Though not typically given to taking photos of myself in the mirror, I had to take this one, because it is, in fact, the only photographic evidence that I was ever pregnant with this child. My belly crept into a few photos taken for this blog, but otherwise, there is a noticeable lack of pictures of this pregnancy (one of the perils of being the family photographer or, I suppose, the fourth child):

Any day now | Little Book, Big Story

But I like this photo: notice the birth ball to the left and the basket of unfolded onesies to the right? That, my friends, is a visual summary of the final weeks of pregnancy.

Knitted patchwork baby blanket | Little Book, Big Story

But to all of you who have sent us sweet wishes and prayers for the coming weeks: thank you! Thank you for the love you’ve all shown our family and for the kind inquiries into our life in these last few weeks. Your emails have warmed my heart the way a cup of Earl Grey does.

Before I disappear into newborn-land for a while, I wanted to give you all a glimpse at my plan for the next few months. I have one more Easter post to share with you later this week, as well as the results of the Slugs and Bugs giveaway (which you can still enter until 3/17!), and then—after sharing a baby photo or two, of course—I’ll retire quietly into life with a newborn, a toddler, two big sisters and one patient and loving husband. I hope to be back around mid-April with a slew of new posts for you, beginning with a review of one of my favorite books about a family of four sisters.

Knitted patchwork baby blanket | Little Book, Big Story

Until then, dear readers, thank you again. I am so grateful for you—even the ones I don’t know by name. May your Easter be filled with joy and song!

For the knitters out there, you can find the baby blanket pattern I used (and modified: I used worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles, and cast on 23 stitches per square) here.

Teaching Art to Kids (Video)

For the last two years, I’ve taught art to the growing handful of students at our daughters’ school. We draw, we paint, we make messes! We talk theology! It’s glorious.

As part of a series of videos about our school, I was recently interviewed about why art is important and how I approach it as a teacher, and I thought I’d share the video here, giving you a peek at what I do when I’m not writing book reviews:

Trinity Classical School: Art from Ben Bender on Vimeo.

If you’re interested, you can watch interviews with our Latin and Kindergarten teachers here.


There are days when the book reviews come easily, like champagne from an unstopped bottle or—perhaps more fitting to my stage of life—like milk from a toppled glass. And there are days when midsummer sends my thoughts lumbering around like honeybees in the lavender bush. On those days, I want nothing more to sit on the porch with a cup of tea and The Three Musketeers and let my thoughts lumber and buzz.

Today is one of those days. So I’ll send you over to Story Warren, to read Helena Sorensen’s beautiful post, “The School of Wonder.” (But I’ll meet you back here next week with a new review, I promise!)

Some Sort of Change

Maybe I felt that between starting home school, planning art lessons for my daughter’s co-op, cleaning up after a mobile baby, and editing essays, I just didn’t have enough to do during nap-time. Maybe I breathed in the fall air a little too deeply and felt that I, like the leaves, trees and sky, needed to make some sort of change.

The Time Quartet | Little Book, Big Story

But whatever it was that inspired the change, I made it, and I’m glad I did: on Saturday, I enlisted the help of my husband and we sat on the couch, side by side, with cups of cold green tea between us, and we reworked this site completely, giving a lot of thought to what might make it easier for you to read through my existing posts and rummage through the archives when you’re looking for a specific title.

Not only that, but I’ve spent the last week photographing books for these posts so I can do away with the tiny thumbnails once and for all.  (I did this on the front porch, where the light is best and the background clean, but hovering over a stack of books with a camera is a bit awkward when the neighbors walk by.)

The most exciting change (I think) is this: if you take a minute to enter your email address—which I promise not to share—you can now subscribe to this blog via email:

Did you do it? Hooray! You shall henceforth find my newest posts waiting for you in your inbox.

There will be hiccups while I update photos and re-format posts and such, so please bear with me. If it’s any consolation, there are other changes in the queue that I think you’ll like, but I don’t want to give anything away quite yet. I am taking requests, though: is there anything that you would like to see,  anything that might make it easier for you to navigate Little Book, Big Story?

Summer Vacation (Part V)

I’m in the midst of school shopping/writing art lesson plans (more on that later)/unpacking and cleaning house after hosting an exchange student and taking a trip to Lake Roesiger (now you understand why I’ve been milking this vacation series for weeks), so here for your written entertainment is “28 Books You Should Read if You Want To,” by Janet Potter at The Millions.

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As an added bonus, I’ve got a little something extra for you this week. (You’re welcome.)

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